Friday, October 19, 2012

Too Easy, But Here Goes- 'Unwatchable': "Unspeakable" (2002)

This cornball horror flick feels like an almost two hour set up to a better film.

Extra smart midriff baring scientist Diana (Dina Meyer) has created a new machine that can read people's minds, and she is trying it out on criminals...who's giggling out there? She tries it on poor Cesar (Marco Rodriguez), accused of murdering a border patrol agent. Cesar is executed, but Diana and her assistant Jack (a sleeping Lance Henriksen) know he is innocent. Recently captured razed notorious serial killer Mowatt (screenwriter Pavan Grover) is up next on death row. Diana hooks up her dorky machine, but Mowatt is very different. He can will people to do things like commit suicide. He can use the machine to read Diana's mind, as well.

Diana wants to study Mowatt more, but the Governor (Jeff Fahey) won't allow it, despite his past sexual relationship with Diana. As psychotic penitentiary warden Blakely (Dennis Hopper) pushes Mowatt's execution date closer, Diana seems to be the only person interested in seeing him live.

From the beginning, "Unspeakable" cannot get anything right. Diana and Jack are serious medical scientist types, but crumble and grimace at all the executions and autopsies, as if they never saw blood in med school. Mowatt might be the devil, might be man evolved, but mostly he is a big giant question mark who is never explained. The film spends too much time on the innocent Cesar storyline, which goes nowhere. Dina Meyer is still looking for that breakout role that will propel this talented woman into the big leagues, but this is not it. She channels Jodie Foster's Clarice Starling most of the time. Henriksen is so laid back, I honestly forgot he was in the film whenever he was not onscreen. Hopper does yet another over the top performance, hmm, we have never seen a crazed warden character before. Likewise with Fahey's turn as the politician more concerned with the upcoming election than anything else.

The direction is okay, the gore effects are good, but I kept waiting for something to happen during "Unspeakable"...and even after the film ended, I am still waiting. "Unspeakable." Unwatchable. Unbelievable. Unrentable. (*) out of five stars.