An UNWELCOME review: A short horror film by Nathan Erdel.

Every once in a while you find a little hidden gem amongst the crappy backyard offerings of aspiring film-makers. Not to say the one I’m about to discuss is crappy or backyard... Ignore all that. The point is, occasionally, your searching pays off. 

Here is a student film made right here in good ol’ Bloomington, IN as part of an IU film class. It’s written and directed by a guy I’ve met and would like to work with because his mind is twisted in a way I understand. From the opening credits and noises, it took me back to the days of my youth when I would rent a flick directed by some dude with an Italian last name. I would sit up after my parents went to bed to watch it in the dark on the living room TV (because we only had the one VCR). 

I have to describe the living room  of my youth for you real quick. See, it was a long rectangular room on the back of the house and the TV was in the farthest corner against the back wall. Next to that was a stone fireplace and if the wind was just right, that fireplace sang an eerie tune.  Behind me had to be 15 or 20 feet of empty real estate before you got to the kitchen and that was another 20 feet of empty real see what I’m getting at? In the dark after midnight, you had your back to a lot of open space. Creepy. Atmosphere was with that in mind, I give you writer/director/editor Nathan Erdel and GentlemanMonster Productions’ film:  UNWELCOME.

UNWELCOME is a slow burn short horror film with a running time of just over 25 minutes. I won’t spoil any more than I have to, but some things must be described so buy and watch the DVD/Bluray before you read beyond this point or don’t bitch to me.

The story is simple. Charlie and Sadie move into their first place and quickly notice some odd things happening. Stuff is misplaced, messes are found that neither of them will own up to and it causes unnecessary tension on the young couple. When it gets to be too much, Charlie hooks up a webcam to see what’s causing the disturbances and what he finds is no bueno. Not to mention Sadie is alone in the house at the time. Is it demons? Ghosts? The answer will surprise, and if you're tired of the glut of derivative horror crap out there, delight you. Charlie rushes back to save her...but will he succeed? Or does darkness prevail? Ooh, fished in. Now you gotta watch it.
Benjamin Schuetz and Lindsey McDermott as Charlie and Sadie. Napping through the evil.

The sound is effective with music by Robby Benson who created some synth tracks that take you back to the early 80’s (yes, that Robby Benson--who also Executive Produced). Songs were provided by Chicago’s own horror punks, TheNecroholics, including the tune “Unwelcome” which was written just for the film. There’s a wicked solo in that one. 

The visuals are killer. Bravo to Leya Taylor as the DP for some excellent low-light scenes and also to the director as well as all involved for using the sets to their fullest. There is a lot of tension and clever camera work. UNWELCOME isn’t an effects film, but there is some wicked practical stuff to digest thanks to The Clockwerk Creature Company.
Something isn't right.

The pacing is great, the dialogue is tight and the acting is solid by both Benjamin Schuetz  as Charlie--who looks a bit like a bald Justin Timberlake with a beard--and the lovely Lindsey McDermott as Sadie. They are quite believable as a couple with the usual issues but an underlying love that can’t be denied.  
The show may be stolen by Kate Braun, who you might know from another horror gem entitled FOUND. Kate plays a transient woman you wouldn’t like to meet--any more info on that would be criminal but she is brilliant. Then there’s Victor Miller as Uncle Ghastly, a late night horror host who hams it up with smarm, shameless plugs and a bit of foreshadowing. By the way, Mr. Miller is the same man who penned the original Friday the 13th. If, boys and girls, you pay attention, you’ll catch the director’s wife, Kara, who also produced the film, in a cameo.

Victor Miller as Uncle Ghastly. I don't know who the dead guy is.
While not perfect as it has its moments of low-budget charm--those things most horror fans look for and savor--UNWELCOME is definitely a welcome (ugh. Puns) entry into the growing world of short films that I can't seem to get enough of. Go Horror!

That much as I’d like to, I just can’t spoil the ending. 

Well done to Nathan and his team. Your passion shows and I for one, can’t wait to see the next Gentleman Monster Production!

For more on UNWELCOME, go like the film's page on Facebook.
To keep up with Gentleman Monster Productions, add this link to your bookmarks.

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