Review: Disquiet is the perfect bargain basement horror film mashup lovers should avoid

Review: Disquiet is the perfect bargain basement horror film mashup lovers should avoid ...

Disquiet, by writer and director Michael Winnick, is a subpar horror film mashup involving deserted hospitals, harrowing patients, and more than a little metaphysical subtext. From February 13, the film will be available in theaters and on-demand, providing just the right amount of undemanding entertainment to those in need of mild relief.

Sam (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is a successful businessman who is engaged to Sarah (Anita Brown). In the first minutes, he awakes to discover himself in an empty hospital, connected to a heart monitor, with only one elderly patient for company. Minutes pass before Sam discovers his feet, unplugs his tubes, and attempts to escape into the corridor. In a split second, the sedated older man is clinging to his back and yelling.

Winnick keeps his leading man on tenterhooks as he battles a pensioner brandishing medical equipment, hot foots it into an elevator, only to have that same dead man punch his way through the ceiling in pursuit of him. With flashing fluorescent strip lights, off-kilter camera angles, and intrusive incidental music, Disquiet tries hard to intimidate audiences.

Sam encounters Monica (Elyse Levesque), who is under the knife for enhancement surgery, but she awakens moments later surrounded by ghoulishly pneumatic models bound in bandages, fearing her with scalpels and attempting to look terrifying.

The newly-formed duo scramble away from the advancing models along a poorly-lit corridor, revealing everything to audiences. This horror hospital drama feels more like an homage to Roger Corman than John Carpenter. Only the committed performances from the ensemble cast save Disquiet from becoming a certified automobile accident.

As little flashback provides context to the plotting of these characters, things begin to make less and less sense. A morally ambivalent cop (Lochlyn Munro) joins the group, followed by an innocent young man (Trezzo Maharo) who shares a connection with the cop. Then, a wheelchair bound patient (Garry Chalk) join the entourage as Sam battles to make sense of what is happening.

Disquiet has an absence of anything horrible happening, which in turn causes the film to run longer than it takes to run for eighty two minutes. Only Rhys Meyers' bug-eyed rage as he runs around the corridors is worth the admission fee.

Subplots explained in flashback are nothing to expand the few character arcs at play in this film, meaning that as a group, Carter remains little more than archetypes. Maharo does well to imbue Carter with a degree of innocence when he is caught in the crossfire of a convenience store robbery, but beyond that no one digs any deeper.

As rogue cop Frank assumes Carter is guilty without thinking, Winnick makes heavily inflammatory remarks within the film. At times, the narrative is so subtle that viewers will assume it is planned.

Only Virgil, who is wheelchair bound, brings genuine dramatic ability to the table, offering wise counsel to Sam and tying everything together with his fortune cookie intonations. In fact, Disquiet begins making sense in the final 15 minutes, when it switches from being a horror film to something much deeper.

Anyone who is unsure of the message is fed a slew of angelically-lit stairs, stranded small children, and flashbacks to a hospital bed. In the end, ambiguity rather than closure is all that is offered to the audience. Perhaps suggesting that the filmmaker wanted to end his magnum opus with a little whimsy, rather than anything that might make more sense.

Disquiet is neither scary nor enlightening, making it more of a low-key hot mess salvaged by moments of leading man machismo.