'Unleashed' a classic ghost story

Director: Manuel H. Da SilvaStars: Trisha Echeverria, Jessica Salgueiro, Colin ParadineTime: 1...

Director: Manuel H. Da Silva
Stars: Trisha Echeverria, Jessica Salgueiro, Colin Paradine
Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

Liz Braun, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:40 PM ET

You may never fool around with a Ouija board again.

Things that go bump in the night are front and centre in The Unleashed, a new low-budget horror outing with creepy atmosphere and jump scares a'plenty.

The Unleashed opens with a haunting little chapter set in 1889. A businessman seeking communication with the spirits and a psychic hag with a 'talking board' -- the original name of a Ouija board -- seem to conjure up something evil; next thing you know, the action switches to present day, and a pretty young woman named Madison (Trisha Echeverria) is returning, reluctantly, to her childhood home.

She's been away eight years. Her mother has died. The house is going to be sold. Something bad seems to have happened in the house, because in dreamy flashback we see Madison as a child with her beloved mother, but their joy is ruined by the menacing man who glares at them from a window. Who is he? What happened in the past? Does Madison have secrets?

Bwa-ha-ha!!! Just you wait.

Madison's friends reconnect with her when they learn she's back. Her friend Lindsay (Jessica Salgueiro) is especially glad to see Madison. The gang gathers at the house, some fool goes into the attic, and the next thing you know, that ancient 'talking board' from the movie's opening chapter is back in use. Lindsay is aggressive with her attempts to summon the spirits, and you can be sure it's something she comes to regret.

A lot.

A secondary plot threat puts Madison in touch with a writer (Colin Paradine) whose area is the paranormal. He overhears her asking about Ouija boards in a shop, and they become acquainted. As the narrative gains momentum and moves to a grand ghostly finale, there are one or two nifty surprises along the way.

The Unleashed is a classic ghost story. All that's ghastly and undead is made all the more horrifying by comparison to the lively young cast that populates the movie; there are some terrific sound and visual effects, but you do wish people would stop going into the creaky attic or down to the dungeon-like basement.

The storytelling in the Unleashed (as with most films of the genre) is not exactly brilliant, but it's better than most. This one looks just about right for a teen's first date.

This film is rated 14A


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