Unwritten (2019)

unwritten

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A writer finds himself face to face with a past demon in this indie thriller from director Dale Neven.

Years ago, Albert Flinch was an aspiring writer who was in the midst of writing a story entitled “The Ultimate Weapon”. On a quest with his brother Petie, an accident forced Albert to be ridden with guilt and never finish the story. Years have passed, and Albert is now an agoraphobic man who lives in a used bookstore. Seven years after being forced in his situation, Albert’s daughter Liv comes to visit him, and she is shocked with his living conditions. Liv’s mother has passed away a year ago and she feels no remorse to Albert despite his ongoing condition. Liv calls her former therapist, Dr. Tanner, to see Albert to relieve him of his problem.

Later that day, Albert finds a mysterious customer enter the bookstore. At first, things seem a bit weird. When Albert questions the customer, the mystery man becomes very surprising and tells Albert that he is searching for a book called “Atomic Chess” but will not reveal why he wants the book in order to keep him safe but promises it will have a global impact. Albert soon finds himself having déjà vu and he comes to realize that the man in question could be Sherwood, the villain in his unfinished story. The problem is that no one will believe him, including Liv and Dr. Tanner. Can Albert overcome his past demons and be able to do the one thing he had promised to achieve all those years ago or will it be too late?

A very interesting concept for a film, writer/director Dale Neven brings the idea of agoraphobia and capitalizes on the world of imagination and how being in a certain state can result in blurred lines between fantasy and reality. At running only 80 minutes, Neven makes things run smoothly and somewhat fast-paced, intercutting our central storyline with a connected storyline involving a proposed military experiment that could result in destruction of the world. It may sound farfetched, but the film’s execution is quite thrilling.

Gabriel Burrafato is excellent in the role of Albert, playing him as a man ridden with both guilt and fear. Sporting a haggard look throughout the film, he spends the film inside a used bookstore and must contend with many of his past demons, but one in particular more than the other. One of the “demons” he must face from his past is that of his daughter Liv, played by Brittany Moza. Liv, however, is not a “demon” per se, but rather the estranged daughter who attempts to reconnect with her father after the death of her mother. Things don’t go as smoothly between the two for the most part until the second “demon” brings them together.

That “demon” is Sherwood, excellently played by Mark Justice. As this mysterious villain, Justice plays the character with sinister mannerisms. He comes off at first as a curious customer but then Justice amps up the evil to a tee. Even when Albert seems to get the upper hand, it is something there that forces Sherwood to retaliate in both a physical and psychological manner. The question that must be answered is whether Sherwood is real or just a figment of Albert’s imagination based on his story. Veteran Lorenzo Lamas makes a special appearance as a military officer who becomes worried when Sherwood, our antagonist, may have the key to total destruction to the world and the fact he hid from the government makes things worse. The finale brings everything full circle, but adds a sense of not being as predictable as one would imagine.

Unwritten may sound like something predictable when it comes to hearing the story. However, the execution of the film brings much more, including a very sinister performance by Mark Justice, and a totally surprise finale that breaks the mold for this brand of genre.

WFG RATING: B

Random Media presents a Got Films/Neven Films production. Director: Dale Neven. Producers: Robson Longwell, Steven B. Mandel, Dale Neven, Kenneth Parker, and Jeremy Settles. Writer: Dale Neven. Cinematography: Ryan Galvan. Editing: Jacob Maturen.

Cast: Gabriel Burrafato, Brittany Hoza, Mark Justice, Ben Stobber, Lorenzo Lamas, Abraham Rodriguez, Ethan Patton, Joe Chin, Ashley Campbell, Steven B. Mandel.

Random Media is releasing the film on DVD and on Digital on May 21.

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