Grimmfest 2020 Film Feature - The Unhealer

Runtime: 94 mins

Directed by: Martin Guigui

Starring: Natasha Henstridge, Lance Henriksen, Adam Beach, Chris Browning, Elijah Nelson

Grimmfest Feature by: Darren Tilby

Synopsis: A botched faith healing bestows supernatural Shaman powers on a bullied teenager. When his lifelong tormentors pull a prank that kills someone he loves, he uses his powers for revenge and goes on a bloody rampage to settle the score...

Grimmfest say: It's a popular scenario for a horror movie, of course, one which has turned up in many different forms over the years, from Stephen King's CHRISTINE, to last year's Grimmfest hit, THE SHED: the put-upon outsider teen suddenly granted the power to take vengeance on his bullies, and corrupted in the process. But as the title suggests, THE UNHEALER offers an intriguingly fresh new spin: the power here is that of reflecting violence back on the perpetrator, so the fates of the various bullies are determined in part by the extent of their own cruelty, lending the proceedings, at least at first, an uncomfortably poetic sense of justice. Boasting some sharp and sly social observation, plenty of intriguing and offbeat character detail, a fine eye and ear for run-down small-town locations, attitudes and values, and an unexpectedly vicious streak, and featuring a sympathetic and winning lead in Elijah Nelson, and fine supporting turns from Natasha Henstridge as his defiant and supportive single mother and the inimitable Lance Henrikson as a sleazy, drink-and-drug-addled bogus faith healer straight out of the pages of a Joe R. Lansdale novel, this is a satisfyingly smart and surprisingly sour take on a perennially popular horror trope.

What I'm Expecting: When a bullied misfit teen suddenly has shamanistic powers bestowed upon him, there can only be one logical outcome: the rapid and gruesome demise of his school bullies. The Unhealer, I'd imagine, will be the antithesis to the superhero movie; a twisted tale of morality and righteousness, perhaps with religious overtones and, of course, a distinctly nasty side. Either way, it's always nice to see Natasha Henstridge, Lance Henriksen and Adam Beach on screen, and I look forward to seeing what Elijah Nelson and Kayla Carlson, two young actors that I'm unfamiliar with, bring to their roles.