The Unbroken (2012)


USA. 2012.


Director – Jason M. Murphy, Screenplay – Tony Giordano, Producers – Kenny Beaumont, Tony Giordano & Jason M. Murphy, Photography – Kenny Beaumont, Music – Cody James & Jaysen A. Lewis, Visual Effects – In the Dark Entertainment & Renner VFX, Production Design – Mabel Barba. Production Company – In the Dark Entertainment


Aurelia Rose (Sarah Campbell), Patrick Dennis Flanagan (Tommy), Daniel Baldwin (Bruce Middlebrooks), Warwick Davis (Psychic), Ryan Smith (Little Boy), Tracy Wiu (Vicki Davis), Diane W. Saunders (Mrs Parks), Tony Maywright (Trent), Margaret Appaloni (Mrs Stubbs)


Sarah Campbell moves into an apartment complex following her divorce. Immediately after she arrives, she keeps encountering a strange little boy and a laughing clown doll that continues to reappear no matter how many times she throws it out. She comes to the realisation that the apartment is haunted and that the ghost of the little boy is directing her to solve his murder.

Jason M. Murphy is a young, independent filmmaker based in Jacksonville, Florida. He had previously made Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! (2008). The Unbroken was his second film and next went onto make Robo-Dog (2015) and Monsters at Large (2017).

The Unbroken sets out to be a ghost story and follows a tried and true plotting formula for the genre. Jason M. Murphy at least tries to make the characters well rounded – Aurelia Rose and Patrick Dennis Flanagan create a good energy whenever they are together, even if neither are that great as actors, particularly he who is perpetually, even affectionately, hitting on her. The main problem as horror films go is that The Unbroken is slow and uneventful. The sole moment it perks up and sheds any blood is a completely unconvincing decapitation scene.

The other problem is one that many ghosts stories suffer from – and that is that the film starts out trying to spook us but as soon as the protagonists delve into who the ghost is the film becomes more of a mystery detective story and the spooky elements disappear as the ghost becomes friendly, even one who appears to be aiding them to solve its murder. There is also a left field twist ending where the dead person turns out not to be who we expect and the ghost is still looking on as a new tenant arrives at the apartment, which only leaves us wondering what the purpose of the murder mystery we were lead to uncover was as this makes most, if not all, of the directions the film has led us in to be false. Daniel Baldwin turns up to do about his 345th sweaty psycho role and is obvious from the moment we meet him.

The film even includes a blatant plug for Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! – at one point, Patrick Dennis Flanagan talks of his passion for horror and refers to a poster on the wall and says “This is a fine piece of cinema – very ahead of its time,” which would be mildly amusing if it were not Jason M. Murphy’s own film he was referring to.

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