Before he made everyone Triggered, writer-director Alastair Orr made his feature debut on this very twisted tale of two survivors of a psychopath in rural South Africa.
Detective James Hirsch has been attempting to track down a monster known as the R106 Butcher. He begins to question Rex Dobson, a survivor of the Butcher’s latest killing spree. Rex’s car broke down during a drive and it landed him in an area where there is no cell service. Knocked out and awakening, he ended up chained to a slab of brick. As Rex struggled to escape, he is warned not to think about leaving and there, he meets Vincent, another man who had fallen prey to the Butcher and has survived.
Alice Edmunds is another survivor of the R106 Butcher. Like Rex, she tells her story of how she broke down and found herself tortured, beaten, and raped by the masked psychopath. Alice narrowly escapes but during her interrogation, she begins to have an idea who may be the R106 Butcher. Rex begins to have his suspicions as well as to who the Butcher is. Somehow, the psycho may be connected to the two survivors, but how. That lies the mystery of the investigation. Will Detective Hirsch be able to solve the case or is something completely different in store?
Writer-director Alastair Orr makes his feature film debut on this thriller that pays homage to the Saw franchise and adds some intricate twists and turns, notably in the third act, that keep the film going for its short and sweet runtime of 77 minutes. The man behind the recently released Triggered brings to life the perspective of two survivors of a psychopath and how they are connected and have narrowly escaped the menace who nearly destroyed their lives.
Ryan Macquet brings a sense of innocence to his role of Rex Dobson, who we see in the film’s opening being interrogated by Detective James Hirsch, played by Michael Thompson. Orr shows a very haunting juxtaposition between the interrogation and what has happened by using different filters. A black and white filter used for the interrogation while grittier shades of brighter colors are used to describe the rural area where all the menacing happens. The cinematography brings to mind a bit like Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 as it is striking and gritty.
Claire Opperman’s Alice, as the second survivor, shows herself as a strong woman who when faces against all odds, escapes thanks to her strong will. She will do whatever it takes to make sure not only she escapes, but possibly know the madman’s identity. This comes into play the fact we are treated to a shocking and exhilarating third act, which shows the connection between Rex, Alice, and the madman. The character of Vincent, played by Craig Hawks, may seem like a throwaway character destined to get his at the hands of the butcher, but it is soon apparent he may be a very vital part of the investigation. It does bring in a shock factor, but not one you would actually expect. The final moments left my jaw drop for a good couple minutes
The Unforgiving is a solid directorial debut for Alastair Orr. The story may seem confusing at first but it’s worth the wait as the final act’s revelations bring in a shock value, all supported by some stunning visuals, juxtapositions, and some bloody goodness for horror fans.
WFG RATING: B+
An Illusionz Unlimited Entertainment production in association with Kamikaze Productions. Director: Alastair Orr. Producers: Ryan Macquet and Lorika Boshoff. Writer: Alastair Orr. Cinematography: Craig Maarschalk. Editing: Alastair Orr.
Cast: Ryan Macquet, Claire Opperman, Michael Thompson, Craig Hawks.