Rated R | Time: 1:33
The most notable thing about “Unsullied” is the man behind the camera. The thriller’s first-time director, Simeon Rice, is a former NFL defensive end who earned a Super Bowl ring in 2003 playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As an athlete, Rice’s performance was brilliant, but the same cannot be said about his latest endeavor. “Unsullied” is wholly underwhelming, with atrocious performances and plot twists so implausible that they would be funny in a film less tedious than this.
Reagan (Murray Gray) is a competitive sprinter whose car breaks down in the forest, where she is offered a ride by two handsome strangers (Rusty Joiner and James Gaudioso), who we learn from an awkward, surreptitious close-up are up to no good. One of them subdues her with a chloroform-soaked rag, and she wakes up tied to a bed. As the kidnappers rape another woman in the next room, Reagan manages to escape. The rest of “Unsullied” is a chase, with the men hunting Reagan for sport.
Rice’s directing veers between arbitrary and nonsensical.
In a languid, pointless scene before Reagan’s capture, the bad guys charm townsfolk over breakfast. Then there are frequent, distracting flashbacks involving Reagan’s sister, who has mysteriously disappeared. None of this, however, lends the characters depth.
Instead, Rice seems desperate to pad out the running time. The performances are broad and silly, resembling a poor man’s “Deliverance,” minus the menace.
The dialogue is tepid, the cinematography flat, the action clunky. It’s the sort of horror fare that regularly runs on basic cable in the wee hours. The movie becomes borderline offensive when the script (by John Nodilo, from a story written with Rice) introduces plot twists that insult our intelligence.
(At AMC Independence.)
| Alan Zilberman,
The Washington Post