Might be the first South African horror film I have seen.


South African cinema has a deeper catalog than most people probably realize. I am not familiar with any other horror films from the country though, and this is what caught my eye about The Unforgiving. I did not realize the movie was so old when I started watching, but oh well.

The biggest problem with The Unforgiving is that it isn’t very good. The most unfortunate part of this is that the film could have been good. The story is basic, but it more or less works on a fundamental level.

We follow the police interviews of two people—Rex and Alice—who are the only two known survivors of a psychotic killer. Both survivors seem to be hiding something, and this raises a bit of intrigue fairly early on. As what is actually happen slowly unfolds we realize there is more going on than a simple survivor story.

Where the film goes awry is just about every technical aspect. The directing is appalling—ultra-close ups and shaky cam (like really shaky) permeate every scene. The whole thing is more headache inducing than anything else. I think they were trying to build claustrophobia, but it is just annoying. The close ups are bad enough, but the absurdly shaky cam makes the whole thing seem like an amateurish production.

The film is also shot in ultra-high-contrast mode, which sometimes looks nice, but with no relief it becomes numbing quite quick. The film simply looks awful, and what really sucks about this is the acting isn’t bad. Some of the scene ideas aren’t bad, either, but they are universally ruined with this piss poor camera work.

We are also victims to poor editing. Angles and views don’t make sense when next to one another, and mixed with the poor camera work it is easy to be disorientated, and not in an interesting way. Simple mistakes in editing shouldn’t be considered edgy or experimental.

To nobody’s surprise, the music drove me nuts. To be fair, I think the music choices in this movie would drive about anything nuts. Obnoxious, repetitive, out of place, and loud sounds fill every scene, and any purpose behind the countless crescendos is lost within the first fifteen minutes.

The film is only 70 minutes long, and yet it still drags. I can’t say enough negative about the directing of this film—it literally sucks the life out of everything within the entire experience. What could have been a fun Saw/Hostel-ish film ends up being complete crap. It is not worth the time in any way. 2/10

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