For many medical school students the most daunting class they face early in their studies is that of Gross Anatomy. The class which introduces aspiring doctors to their first bodies, as well as the reality and complexity of the human anatomy is often seen as a make or break moment for the challenging studies that lay ahead.
In the film Unrest Writer/Director/Producer Jason Todd Ipson follows a group of new students in a Gross Anatomy class. At first the students are shocked by the disfigured cadaver in front of them, but soon begin the dissection they are required to do.
The appearance of the corpse they are working on becomes a source of fixation for one of the students named Allison (Corri English), who becomes convinced that something is not right with the body they are working on, as something tells her that things are not as they seem.
Allison’s concerns are dismissed as her being overwhelmed by her first encounter with a body, and she is told that her concerns will soon pass. Soon after, one of the dissection group is affected by a freak accident, and Allison becomes convinced that there are evil forces at work, and that nobody will be safe until the mystery behind the corpse is settled.
As the body count rises, Allison and her friend Brian (Scot Davis), face a race against the clock and the supernatural to find the cause of the unrest and make things right, before they end up the next victims of a vengeful specter.
Unrest is a very impressive debut for Ipson, who himself was a promising surgeon before turning his talents to directing. The film is well paced and has plenty of tension and suspense without resorting to the clichéd horror staples that have become all too common.
The plot is refreshingly original and deeper than most films in this genre attempt to achieve, as its complexity is deceiving simply. The film can be taken as a simple scare fest, but for those willing to look beneath the surface, there are deeper layers to the film that tackle areas such as the afterlife, intuition, possession, second sight, and the supernatural. While all of those have been covered before in various films, few have ever combined them in such an intelligent fashion that allows the audience to reach their own conclusions on the topics the film introduces.
The cast is solid especially Davis and English who take what could easily be stock characters and infuse a sense of purpose which helps the audience relate to them and their situation.
While the film might have what appears to some to be plot holes, the film is actually a clever examination of the spirit and afterlife, and delivers the goods. While much has been made about the alleged use of real body parts in the film, Ipson is careful not to let his film become a gratuitous gore fest and uses blood and carnage only in the amounts necessary to propel the story.
Unrest is a very solid effort that marks the emergence of a talent to be watched and will delight fans of the genre who want some intelligence with their horror.
4.5 stars out of 5