An ancient creature responsible for the disappearance of a Native Indian tribe many years ago is released during an archaeological expedition in the desert in New Mexico and begins to terrorise the local community.
Unearthed is straight out of the book of generic creature feature flicks which fail to deliver on anything other than an empty space in your wallet where your cash used to be. It’s sad to see that it isn’t just the Sci-Fi Channel that produces nonsense like this. Apparently Unearthed was part of After Dark’s 2007 ‘8 Films To Die For’ horror festival and if there was ever a more undeserving slogan to slap over the front cover, it’s this fact. A genuine lack of creativity and clearly a big lack of passion for a decent final product are Unearthed‘s two major problems. You could sleepwalk your way through this and still know exactly what has happened and what is going to happen.
Worse yet, Unearthed is dreadfully slow. I can usually stomach films being a little sluggish but these films really needs to kick into gear quicker than most because the audience is mostly made up of hardened genre fans who want to see the monster and they want to see blood as quickly as possible. Yet it takes the opposite route and drags its heels as long as it can, presumably to avoid expensive shots of the creature. Actually there are no expensive shots of the creature to be had. The alien looks like, well something out of Alien (H.R. Giger had better be getting royalties for this!) with an odd extra limb or tooth thrown in for good measure. The creature gets a few potentially kick-ass abilities like the ability to impregnate people with parasites but, apart from a brief moment or two with the characters worrying about them, these abilities are just forgotten about. I guess the writer thought they’d be a good idea but when you don’t actually expand upon the idea, what’s the point in having the idea in?
I also guess someone forgot to pay the electricity bill for the shooting schedule as the film is so dark and poorly lit that at times I was wondering whether there was actually any picture at all and someone had just dubbed in an audio track over a black image. The lack of lighting makes the action scenes almost impossible to sit through as you can’t distinguish where the monster is and where the characters are.
Emmanuelle Vaugier and Luke Goss deserve better than this and although it’s clear that they’re wishing they’d rather be some place else, they’re not overly terrible. The characters they’re forced to bring to life are both awful. Vaugier’s troubled sheriff is given a lame back story about having guilt for a previous accident, a plot device which serves only to waste valuable screen time with flashbacks. Do you bet that she’ll redeem herself by the end of the film and put her troubled past behind her by defeating the creature? Not only that but she’s terribly miscast. How could a hot chick like this possibly end up as the sheriff in a middle-of-nowhere town? Goss fairs worse though in the role of the archaeologist who doubles up as a crazy, mercenary-like psycho with a big tattoo across his face. Maybe if the roles had been reversed, I could have bought these casting decisions.
The rest of the cast and characters are filled with the usual non-entity characters including two hot blondes on their way to make it big in Hollywood, the token old Indian character who will at some point explain the nature of the creature to the others right before it kills him, an expendable deputy, etc. The creature gets well fed and at least the death of the most annoying character in the film (the foul-mouthed token black man) is richly welcome.
Unearthed can at least say that it’s production values drag it clear out of the usual septic tank of Sci-Fi Channel sludge but with a monster we’ve seen before, a script that doesn’t care and cinematography that redefines the phrase ‘dark ages,’ it’ll be a brave soul that decides to unearth this flick which should remain dead and buried in the sand.