Wednesday, February 8, 2012

X THE UNKNOWN movie review

X The Unknown

Starring: Dean Jagger, Edward Chapman, Leo McKern, Anthony Newley.

Running time: 81 minutes.

Year: 1956

Directed By: Leslie Norman.

Written By: Jimmy Sangster.

I keep telling myself that I am not going to watch old time 'B' movies, but here I am yet again watching another one that I am once again rolling my eyes at throughout the entire film. I know these type of 'B' movies are all about the fun and the tongue in cheek but for me they just simply don't work.

This one is about radioactivity. Whilst on a routine exercise, a squad of Scottish Army troops stumble across high radio activity that ends up killing a soldier and causing a bottomless crack in the surface. After the crack is quarantined strange deaths continue to happen and nuclear energy seems to be going missing. After weighing up the facts, a scientist discovers that this is an evolution that is scouring the earth for energy, and the more it gets the more it grows. The only problem is that it is a form of mud, that is right mud, that can break into particles and creep into science labs and steal their energy. As the 'mud' grows it begins to go after bigger sources and the scientists and police must find a way to stop it before it gets out of control.

The premise is very typical and the idea is achievable but they are talking about mud. If they made this film today and substituted the 'mud' for an alien being searching for nuclear energy it may work, but the fact it's 'mud' that is squirming over hills and across the moors just makes it really stupid. 'B' movies aren't supposed to take themselves seriously and to be fair this one doesn't, but if I can't take it too seriously than I'm not interested.

With this film we experience very typical 'B' movie characteristics. We get the poor special effects which are obvious that they are miniatures with some kind of thick liquid pouring over them, the poor acting which doesn't draw you into any character or the story, and the unbelievably stupid story which I don't buy. A film can be surreal as long as it brings me into that world. This film really didn't. The entire opening half is dull and slow with nothing really happening. The second half is more entertaining despite the real poor effects and acting. Oh and the ending. The film finally got me interested and then we have a big explosion, ten soldiers hit the deck and a cop says to the scientist, 'your theory worked, you should be proud', and then it ends. Credits roll. What about the poor guys who are laying on the floor after this explosion? I was in complete shock that the film just ended. Considering there was no tension, no atmosphere and no horror throughout the film I can't say I'm surprised though. Is it no surprise as well that the film is probably the shortest film I have ever watched? I have to say thank God for that however because I wouldn't have taken much more.

The second half is a little more entertaining. The 'mud' makes its way through the town and over inflates a soldier and melts four people in a car. The stakes are raised, this thing is growing and rapidly. The problem in this half though is still the effects and instead of being fearful for the characters I was laughing at them. The funniest part is when a small child walks towards the mud and stops, completely unaware she is supposed to be acting or being filmed, so a priest runs over to save her but it isn't intense! He just jogs over, picks her up and stands and stares at the mud, which is clearly a miniature super imposed on the background. Where is the tension?

This is becoming a reoccurrence with the 'B' movie genre and maybe I should stop watching them but I will continue till I find at least one I like. This one I'm afraid was not it.

1 / 5


Next film to review: THE HANGOVER PART II

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