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Fantasia Festival Review: ‘Unearth’

August 26, 2020Ben MK

As far as horror sub-genres go, ecologically themed horror films are arguably one of the most niche. And in Unearth, directors John C. Lyons and Dorota Swies offer their take on the eco-horror genre, weaving glimpses of body horror into this slow-burning tale about the perils of fracking.

The setting is Silverthorn, Pennsylvania, a small town where everybody practically knows everybody and where farming is the way most families put food on the table. But for mechanic George Lomack (Marc Blucas), whose garage has recently fallen upon hard times, a flailing business just isn't going to cut it when it comes to supporting his two daughters and new baby grandchild. Hence, when George is approached a company called Patriot Exploration, it seems like a godsend. Little does George realize, however, that allowing Patriot to set up a hydraulic fracturing plant on his property will not only spell the end of him financially, but it will also bring about the untimely end of his family, not to mention some of his neighbors.

Suffice to say, the result takes a while to get going. But even when it finally does, Unearth has little to offer in the way of actual scares and a satisfying payoff. Instead, this is a movie best viewed more conventionally — as a cautionary tale about the unscrupulous practices of large corporations.

Unearth makes its world premiere at the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 34 min.

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