UNEARTH (2020) Reviews and overview for fracking horror movie

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Deadline has reported that Cinedigm has acquired the U.S. and Canadian rights to Unearth with a premiere of the movie at Laemmle Theatres North Hollywood on April 20th 2021 ahead of its Earth Day, April 22nd theatrical opening and then a digital release in the Summer.

Scroll down for our previous coverage of Unearth

‘A fracking horror story’

Unearth is a 2020 American ecological horror feature film about a down-on-his-luck farmer who sells his land to an oil and gas company. Unfortunately, a creeping terror is unleashed…

Directed by John C. Lyons and Dorota Swies from a screenplay co-written by Kelsey Goldberg and John C. Lyons, the Lyons Den Productions-Unearth Film production stars Adrienne Barbeau (Exorcism at 60,000 Feet; Big Legend; Escape from New York; The Fog), Marc Blucas (They), P.J. Marshall (American Horror Story), Allison McAtee, Rachel McKeon, Brooke Sorenson and Monica Wyche. Produced by Marc Blucas, John C. Lyons, Allison McAtee and Dorota Swies.


Falling on hard times, George Lomack (Marc Blucas) is desperate to save his family. Pushed to the very edge and barely making ends meet, he turns to the one place that can save his home, the gas and oil industry.

Not heeding the warnings of his sagacious neighbour (Adrienne Barbeau), it soon becomes abundantly clear that Lomack has made a deal with the Devil. A creeping terror has been released from the depths of his fertile land while George’s family become shadows of their former selves. Now the two neighbours fight for survival against a poison that is infecting their soil…

Fantasia blurb:

“The realities of an impending environmental crisis are released from the shadows in Unearth. Not only revealing the dangers of fracking but also exposing growing hardships faced by independent farmers, rural communities and families, John C. Lyons and Dorota Swies’s cinematography and direction immerse you in a world that is all too familiar but also exceedingly haunting and foreign. This, combined with a killer soundtrack and some truly disturbing gore, will have you at the edge of your seat.”


“Restraint seems to be the keyword for Unearth […] The passing glimpses of well-executed body horror moments in the third act tease an entirely different, more thrilling film that never comes. For an entire movie about how a dying way of life can lead to irrevocable decisions that affect generations, it feels more appropriate to categorize Unearth as a drama.” Bloody Disgusting

Unearth is an effective metaphor for our times showing a life unfamiliar to many. We read about farmers whose lives are upended by droughts, tariffs, and fracking, but rarely have the ability to fully empathize with them. The film builds real-world dread intertwined with an unsettling monster and its ending serves as a warning to all who would blindly trust capitalism to have our best interests at heart.” Consequence of Sound

…Unearth works as well as it does because of its performances (I was going to highlight a few names here, but honestly, there’s not a bad apple in the bunch – everyone is great), and I think for those who are a bit more flexible with their definitions of horror should enjoy what Swies and Lyons have created with Unearth.” Daily Dead

“The horrific but strangely beautiful fate of one member in particular shows the direction Unearth could have gone in to make a truly memorable finale but things quickly devolve into bouts of madness and despair that’s fairly disorienting to watch. The message of Big Oil taking advantage of the American worker does remain intact however…” Dread Central

” …is this a smart film about a decaying way of life with 25 minutes of horror-movie stuff tacked onto the end or something that started as a horror movie where the filmmakers decided to emphasize the good material in the set-up once they had the footage in front of them? Or is it just a bunch of good ideas realized unevenly? Whatever the reason, Unearth is good enough in places to be interesting…” eFilmCritic

” …for a long time, it seemed like “just” a drama. A good drama, mind you, but still, I was waiting for the horror. For the final third of the movie, I got all the horror I could ask for. In other words, don’t worry, this horror-drama most certainly can and does deliver the blood and gore you would expect.” Heaven of Horror

“For, planted in all this domestic tragedy, there is indeed a cautionary parable, as the American dream – of plentiful pastures and corn-fed folk – is shown being polluted by the follies of endless capitalist ‘progress’. The result is one of the very finest nature’s revenge films in many years.” Projected Figures

“For the first two thirds, the film is structured as more of a drama that includes a very unconventional love triangle, with both George and his daughter Heather shown having feelings for Christina. Unearth eventually evolves into Lovecraftian body horror […] stands on its own as an environmental cautionary tale.” Sean Kelly on Movies

“I have no doubt that Unearth exists with the best intentions, but it never comes together in a meaningful. The drama is too timid, and the violence is too incoherent. It’s a mess, and no amount of well-meaning can change the fact that viewers will walk away feeling as though they’ve wasted their precious time on this planet.” Substream Magazine

“The cast and performances are excellent with Barbeau at the top of the list. She has and will always make a horror film that much better. The film takes a while to get going, with a lot of emphasis on character set up and relationships, but there’s plenty of horrors to go around when it does ramp up. The practical effects are well done and give us just enough body horror to be sufficiently revolted.” View from the Dark


Dorota Swies: “It’s not just about fracking but how, in general, we take the goods of nature for granted. Greed and ignorance have already destroyed our water supplies with chemicals, biological or radiological waste.”

John C. Lyons added, “American farmers have been squeezed harder by our trade wars, and now the pandemic, with crops left rotting in the field when already, over the past decade, their income was down and suicides up. No one is safe from the wrecking ball that is corporate greed. When we destroy our precious water resources, it will eventually affect us in our food and drink. That’s the point that I hope comes across in the film. You may think this is a fictional story about a couple of remote farm families, but environmental injustice eventually affects us all.”


Unearth premiered at the virtual Fantasia festival on August 25th 2020.

UK release via Signature Entertainment on DVD and Digital on June 28, 2021.

Cast and characters:

Adrienne Barbeau … Kathryn Dolan
Marc Blucas … George Lomack
Allison McAtee … Christina Dolan
Brooke Sorenson … Kim Lomack
Rachel McKeon … Heather Lomack
Monica Wyche … Aubrey Dolan
P.J. Marshall … Tom Dolan
Chad Conley … Eddie Drake
Lauren Valentine … Tammy
Brielle Brown … Blonde Girl
Benjamin Sheeler … Earl Yates
Emily Askin … Becky
Roan Hobson … Reese Lomack (16 months)
Ryan Ball … Officer Petrus
Alex Michael Haase … Mark

More films involving fracking

US trailer:

UK trailer:

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