Label: Well Go USA
Region Code: A
Duration: 101 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.39:1)
Director: Jon Wright
Cast: Hannah John-Kamen, Douglas Booth, Colm Meaney, Kristian Nairn, Niamh Cusack, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Chris Wa1ley
The latest from Irish filmmaker Jon Wright (Grabbers) is the folkloric creature-feature Unwelcome (2002) wherein a young pregnant couple, Maya (Hannah John-Kamen, Ready Player One) and Jamie (Douglas Booth, The Dirt), move from big-city life in London to rural Ireland after a harrowing home invasion trauma. It's a quaint cottage they've inherited from Jamie's mysterious late great-aunt, the locals seem quite welcoming, though an elderly neighbor (Niamh Cusack, The Ghoul) does warn the couple that they should continue to leave blood offerings for the far darrig, the Irish fairy folk said to inhabit the woods behind their garden. The woodland creatures are also known as Redcaps due to their signature hooded attire. While the couple attempt to settle in and get comfy their both suffering still suffering with PTSD following the home-invasion back in London, with Jamie feeling particularly emasculated about it. Unfortunately the couple run afoul of a local psychopathic family via contractor Whelan (Colm Meaney, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and his trio of adult vicious children; Eoin (Kristian Nairn, Game of Thrones), Aisling (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell) and Killian (Chris Wa1ley, 1917), when one of the Whelan's kids loses his head with some help from the fairy folk who have come to Maya's aid when she is attacked in the woods, with the venomous patriarch and his surviving kids showing up in the late of night looking for answers, but what they don't expect is an all out assault from the bloodthirsty Redcaps.
It sounds all very dire and desperate but if you've seen Wright's Grabbers you know he infuses his horror with comedy and there's a wonderfully indelicate balance between the harrowing, horror and hearty laughs happening throughout. The tone is a bit all over the place and that's alright by me - I'm a moody guy and my emotions can run all over the pace, I typically don't fault a film for the same unless it just doesn't work, but it works for me.
The film is well shot with some great looking fairytale-esque woodlands, with scenes that look to have been shot on a sound stage giving the Irish woodlands setting a dark fairytale quality along the lines of Legend or Company of Wolves, only with a much lower budget. The Redcaps themselves don't get a proper introduction for quite some time, though their presence is felt early on through POV, but we do not get a proper look-see until late in the film. However, once they do appear it's never disappointing, created with a blend of what looks to be digital VFX, puppetry and perhaps some live-action actors is quite wonderful. The look of the dark fairy folk is quite creepy and should delight fans of pint-sized terrors like Gremlins, Ghoulies, Troll and the Puppet Master franchise, it certainly did me. There's also quite a bit of gore during the finals third of the film with throats slashed, guts are spilled, there's no shortage of the gore, some of it quite shocking, those little fairy fuckers are an brutal bunch!
Audio/Video: Unwelcome (2022) arrives on Blu-ray from Well Go USA in 1080p HD (2.39:1) with English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with optional English Subtitles. It's a great looking indie feature shot digitally and colors, contrast and black levels are solid throughout. Extras include a pair of behind-the0scenes featurettes and a trailer for the film. The single-disc release arrives in a standard keepcase with a single-sided sleeve of artwork.
- Behind The Scenes (13 min)
- Making The Redcaps (5 min)
- Original Trailer (2 min)