Review: The Unleashed

A scene from 'The Unleashed'. Courtesy Dark House Films.

When it comes to the indie film scene in the Toronto area there are tons of movies being made and promoted on a daily basis. A lot of them are your typical low-budget hack jobs, but some are surprisingly good productions with quality writing, acting, effects, and cinematography. In the last few months I’ve been impressed by the trippy fantasy Neverlost, the post-apocalyptic thriller The Collapsed, and the drama 48 Hours in Purgatory. Now I can add The Unleashed to the list of unknown films that deserve to be seen.

After her mother passes away, Madison (Trisha Echeverria) returns home to take care of some family affairs and clean out the house that has been left to her. The night she arrives back her friend Lindsay (Jessica Salgueiro) throws her a small party. As the group reminisce over some drinks, someone is drawn to the attic where they find a very old and creepy Ouija board (or “talking board” as we learn it used to be called).

You know where this is going right?

Sure enough, they begin to mess around with the board asking dumb questions until something takes control of it and things get weird. They lock the board back in the attic and try to laugh it off. What they don’t realize yet is that they have released something bad, something very bad, and soon things get out of control and freaky for them.

Directed by Manuel H. Da Silva, The Unleashed is a very eerie little supernatural horror that works at generating scares without overdoing it. The acting is decent, and the effects are on par with a Hollywood production. What really sold me on the film though was the mood Da Silva was able to get across without millions of dollars. There were a few scenes that made the hair on my arms stand on end which is an amazing feat from a film of this calibre.

If you dig horror films and are looking to support a local filmmaker without feeling forced to do so, give The Unleashed a chance. And keep your eye out for more from Manuel H. Da Silva and his team at Dark House Films.

The Unleashed opens in Toronto at The Regent, The Revue, and the Toronto Underground Cinema.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Rated 14A
Cast: Trisha Echeverria, Jessica Salgueiro, Caroline Williams, Colin Paradine
Directed by: Manuel H. Da Silva

Top image: A scene from The Unleashed. Courtesy Dark House Films.

Brian McKechnie

About Brian McKechnie

Brian McKechnie is the founder and editor of Criticize This! Email him at brian@criticizethis.ca.