THE UNWILLING (2016) Reviews and overview

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‘Careful what you wish for…’

The Unwilling is a 2016 American horror film directed by Jonathan Heap from a screenplay co-written with David Lipper (Lost After Dark; Ghost Whisperer; Bug Buster). The movie stars the latter, plus Dina Meyer (The Evil Within; The Crooked ManSaw, II, III, IV) and Lance Henriksen.

When five relatives come to the perfectly ordered home of David Harris, a shut-in, to hear the reading of the will of his hated father, they are surprised by the delivery of an old antique box.

Once activated, the box starts to reveal special items to each one in turn, which lead to surprising and mysterious deaths. As each person succumbs to the box’s mysterious hold on them, David fears his father’s dangerous spirit has returned from the dead demanding retribution.

However, he soon realizes something far more ancient and terrifying has invaded his protected home, and if he can’t solve the puzzle of the devilish box, he will surely die with the rest of them, all entombed in his house forever…

In August 2016, director Jonathan Heap told Fangoria: “It seems to me that what we have created, is that which is missing from many present-day horrors; the personal subjective story, the Hitchcock one person point-of-view.

A lot of horror and sci-fi has become impersonal so we started out to do just the opposite. I think we have succeeded to the extent that you will want the characters to overcome – overcome whatever they at first are unwilling to do.”


“With some decent performances (despite a wishy-washy script) and not much else – overall, there’s little to recommend in The Unwilling. It’s a failure in direction and execution. Again – there’s something good here – buried under layers of ineptitude – but the filmmakers were unable to make use of this promising core concept.” Horrorfreak News

” …the film is entertaining and fast-paced. It runs just under 80 minutes if you discount the credit roll, so it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Indeed, it leaves no aftertaste. It’s an enjoyable but forgettable experience…” Hollywood Investigator

Cast and characters:

David Lipper … David Harris
Dina Meyer … Michelle Harris
Bree Williamson … Cheryl Cates
Robert Rusler … Rich Lamplin
Austin Highsmith Garces … Kelly Davis (as Austin Highsmith)
Jake Thomas … Darren Davis
Lance Henriksen … Father Harris
Charles Gorgano … Lawyer
Levy Tran … Nurse
Amanda Morton … Dead Girl

Film Facts:

The film’s working title was The Gathering.

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