Unhuman (2022) poster

Unhuman (2022)


USA. 2022.


Director – Marcus Dunstan, Screenplay – Marcus Dunstan & Patrick Melton, Producers – Paige Pemberton & Paul B. Uddo, Photography – Lyn Moncrief, Music – Charlie Clouser, Visual Effects – VFX Legion, ULC, Special Effects Supervisor – Mik Kastner, Makeup Effects – Carlos Savant, Production Design – Owl Martin Dwyer. Production Company – Blumhouse.


Brianne Tju (Ever), Benjamin Wadsworth (Randall), Uriah Shelton (Danny), Ali Gallo (Tamra), Drew Scheid (Steven), Peter Giles (Mr Lorenzo), Lo Graham (Jacey), C.J. LeBlanc (Hunt), Blake C. Burt (Ryan), Tony Donno (Wayne), Joshua Mikel (Chip), Dang Wing Lau (Ever’s Mom)


Ever and a group of students from Louisiana’s Evanston Hill High School depart on a field trip. However, the bus driver strikes something and crashes off the road in the middle of nowhere. The teacher is attacked by a crazed maniac that appears. The rest of the pupils flee through the woods and take refuge at an abandoned building where they try to defend themselves. Unsure whether they are facing backwoods maniacs or zombies, Ever discovers a much more sinister purpose.

Marcus Dunstan and his co-writer Patrick Melton first came to attention with the script for the Project Greenlight hit Feast (2006). Along with writing that film’s two sequels Feast II: Sloppy Seconds (2008) and Feast III: The Happy Finish (2009), they were snapped up by the Saw franchise and wrote Saw IV (2007), Saw V (2008), Saw VI (2009) and Saw 3D (2010), as well as other works like Piranha 3DD (2012) and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019). Dunstan, joined by Melton on script, made his directorial debut with the Torture Porn film The Collector (2012) and the two followed with that film’s sequel The Collection (2012) and The Neighbor (2016), Unhuman marks the duo’s fourth directing/writing outing. It is a production from Blumhouse (see below).

Unhuman is a film that frustrates you efforts in trying to get a handle on it. Dunstan and Melton set up a cross-section of typical teenagers as they set out. They are the usual types that populate these films but Dunstan portray their reactions with an undeniable colour and the actors give them some sarcastic energy. As soon as the bus crashes, they are placed into a situation, although it is not clear to us what is going on. Are we in the midst of some type of Backwoods Brutality scenario where they are being attacked by hillbilly degenerates? Is it some type of zombie apocalypse? Or is it even some type of Mass Insanity outbreak due to a catastrophic chemical spill as seems to be hinted at by the radio in the background?

Brianne Tju in Unhuman (2022)
Brianne Tju faces something in the woods

It is a frustrating film because you spend almost the entire way through trying to get a handle on exactly what is going on. The threat the group face seems vague – it is not clear what it is, while the script takes no time to establish any rules about what is happening. About two-thirds of the way through, the film pulls a big twist on us and reveals that what is going on is [PLOT SPOILERS] a complicated Revenge plot where school underdogs are using pharmaceuticals to exact justice against the cliques and bullies in the class.

It is a plot that seems elaborately calculated and contrived, but the overall effect is kind of ho-hum. The film creates a situation but never exactly puts the screws on its characters. I was expecting Dunstan and Melton to return to the Torture Porn extremes of The Collector films but they deliver a fairly much by-the-board film the whole way. As with any Blumhouse film, there is a post-credits scene that leaves the way open for a sequel.

Jason Blum and his Blumhouse production company have produced a number of other genre films including:- Hamlet (2000), Paranormal Activity (2007) and sequels, Insidious (2010) and sequels, Tooth Fairy (2010), The Bay (2012), The Lords of Salem (2012), The River (tv series, 2012), Sinister (2012) and sequel, Dark Skies (2013), Oculus (2013), The Purge (2013) and sequels, the tv mini-series Ascension (2014), Creep (2014), Jessabelle (2014), Mercy (2014), Mockingbird (2014), Not Safe for Work (2014), Ouija (2014) and sequel, 13 Sins (2014), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014), Unfriended/Cybernatural (2014), Area 51 (2015), The Boy Next Door (2015), Curve (2015), The Gallows (2015), The Gift (2015), Jem and the Holograms (2015), The Lazarus Effect (2015), Martyrs (2015), Visions (2015), The Visit (2015), The Darkness (2016), Hush (2016), Incarnate (2016), The Veil (2016), Viral (2016), Amityville: The Awakening (2017), Get Out (2017), Happy Death Day (2017), The Keeping Hours (2017), Split (2017), Stephanie (2017), Bloodline (2018), Cam (2018), Delirium (2018), Halloween (2018), Seven in Heaven (2018), Truth or Dare (2018), Upgrade (2018), Black Christmas (2019), Ma (2019), Prey (2019), Don’t Let Go (2019), Sweetheart (2019), Black Box (2020), The Craft: Legacy (2020), Evil Eye (2020), Fantasy Island (2020), Freaky (2020), The Hunt (2020), The Invisible Man (2020), Nocturne (2020), You Should Have Left (2020), Black As Night (2021), The Black Phone (2021), Dashcam (2021), Firestarter (2022), M3gan (2022), Mr Harrigan’s Phone (2022), Nanny (2022), Soft & Quiet (2022), Run Sweetheart Run (2022), Sick (2022), They/Them (2022), Torn Hearts (2022), The Exorcist (2023), Five Nights at Freddy’s (2023) and There’s Something Wrong With the Children (2023).

Trailer here

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