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Review Unwelcome (2023}: Silly Billy!

genre: horror

Writer / Director Jon Wright described Unwelcome as a "home invasion film" and pitched it as "Gremlins meets Straw Dogs". I myself have yet to watch Straw Dogs, but I know enough that some of that vibe lingers throughout. Some scenes are indeed very unpleasant. You will get rewarded for having endured the anguish. I found myself laughing and rooting for certain elements.

You may know Wright from Grabbers. A much lighter affair compared to Unwelcome. It's like Wright felt that he had to go darker. One could argue he succeeds by doing so. I would say that at times he manages to be dark, but there are also times he isn't dark enough. The film opens with aggravating terror. Because you can't help but feel had Jamie (Douglas Booth) acted differently he might have avoided the whole ordeal. Then again, nobody has the right to insult or assault anyone, so you can't blame him. At least at that time. There are several times after Jamie gets confronted where he could and should have shown some progress, but mostly cowers away. Maya on the other hand is a fighter through and through. Yet, she is quite flawed and doesn't think things through until it's too late. It's a real shame that these characters act so annoyingly at times. They have our sympathy from the start, only in certain scenes, they do make it hard to remain on their side. I really wished characters like these were better written and not so clich├ęd. 

The horror elements are great. Not scary. I would say the terror caused by people in this film is more chilling. But perhaps a little too much. I mean, I know that it can happen that people are rude and vile. Yet, in real life, if people would act like the Whelan family, they would never get hired or be taken seriously. People in general are far more complex. I think, it's a missed opportunity to have characters like them be treated with some respect. I mean, even the Hodor guy goes from nice to evil in one heartbeat. 

However, the horror elements are very satisfying and rewarding. In the end, that is what counts. You will have a good time watching this despite its flaws. You certainly won't regret it. Just don't expect too much, though. Grabbers in this regard is superior. 

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