Review: I Now Have a New Fear Thanks to Unseen (2023)

When I was 7, I started having trouble seeing the chalkboard from anywhere other than the front of the classroom. It wasn’t until a year later that I finally got glasses. From then on out, I spent my life highly identifying with and being compared to Velma from Scooby Doo, the smart girl with glasses, even though I would have much rather been a Daphne. So, naturally I wanted contacts right from the start. I seemed to always have a stronger prescription than anyone else I knew who had glasses, but over the years it just got worse, and I became even more Velma-like, struggling to search for my glasses when they would happen to fall off of my nightstand. Last year, I had the brilliant idea to use my phone camera to search for them, since it had a perfectly clear picture that I could hold as close to my face as I needed to be able to see what it saw. Then, later in the year, it happened. I finally got contacts. A year later, I switch between contacts and glasses every once in a while, as both have their own pros and cons, but no matter what, without either visual aid, I’m pretty blind, and unable to function. So, when I sat down to watch Unseen, a film that follows a young woman named Emily (Midori Francis) who is a glasses wearer, and escapes after being kidnapped by her abusive ex boyfriend, only to crush her glasses and have to flee blind, I was shook to my core, and surprised that I had never thought of this as a possibility before.

Once Emily gets away from her ex, she gets her phone out, and I thought she was going to use it as a guide to look through like I did when I lost my glasses in my room, but Emily’s vision is even worse than mine, and she can barely even see her phone screen. What she does instead is call 9-1-1, which is obviously the right move, and should’ve been my first thought, like it usually is in every other movie, when the character doesn’t do it. The dispatcher tells Emily that help is one the way, but that they don’t have the ability to video call her phone to help her get to safety in the meantime, and that using their personal phone would be against policy. Their call gets disconnected, and Emily tries to call back, but instead ends up calling a random number that had wrongly dialed her earlier in the day. Enter Sam (Joley Purdy), a convenience store worker who now becomes Emily’s eyes, guiding her through the forest, away from her ex, and to find help, while working her shift.

Unseen has one of the most unique premises I’ve… seen. The nature of Emily’s dilemma means that there’s fewer moments of peace than in most horror movies, since she will never have a break from being blind.

The point of view switches back and forth between Emily in the forest, and Sam at the convenience store, and both settings provide plenty of challenges for the pair to overcome on their journey. One particular challenge that Sam is faced with is having a Karen-like customer. While this is clearly supposed to not only add more tension, but also some comedic relief, I felt like it became too over the top and campy, which didn’t fit in well with the otherwise realistic movie.

Both Francis and Purdy give solid performances that make us feel and root for each of their characters.

With a runtime of only an hour and sixteen minutes, I was worried that Unseen would feel rushed, or incomplete, but it actually felt much longer. Unseen keeps a steady pace, and is full of just the right amount of suspense and action.

If Final Destination 5 is propaganda against Lasik, Unseen is an ad FOR it. It’s been over a week since I watched it and I still can’t stop thinking about it. It added an extra layer of fear onto an already terrifying experience that’s many women’s biggest nightmare.

I rated Unseen ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 on Letterboxd. Feel free to follow me over there if you want to know what other movies I’m watching for the first time during the spooky season!

Unseen (2023) is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

About Morgan Jewel Sawan 84 Articles
Graduate from Oregon State University, with a Bachelor's of Science in Liberal Studies, a self made degree plan, that focused on media, writing, film, and women, gender and sexuality studies, aptly titled "Writing for and about film with a feminist perspective". I inherited my love of halloween and horror movies from my mom. My favorite horror movie is Scream, which is highly ironic considering I was deathly afraid of Ghostface, who I had very vivid nightmares about that I still remember perfectly, as a child. Some of my other favorites are Hereditary, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Beetlejuice, The Shining, The Conjuring, and much more! Even though I’ve pretty much been a life long fan of horror I still have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the classics, ergo my Millennial Morgan Plays Catch Up reviews, which I plan to bring back soon. My passion project for the site is our digital zine, called Fright Like A Girl that's all about women in horror, made by women who love horror! In my free time, besides writing for the site, and working on my dream of becoming an actress and film maker, I enjoy making youtube videos (MJ Sawan on youtube), playing video games, going to conventions like Texas Frightmare, and Horror Hound, and cosplaying! I've cosplayed as Nancy Thompson from A Nightmare On Elm Street, Ripley from Aliens, and more. You can follow me on twitter, @frightlikeagirl, where I tweet A LOT about movies of all types, and the people in them.