In a random scene of director Vincent Shade’s The Unseen (2023), a character asks another character if he has been able to find the Zodiac Killer. That is more than a clear homage to the iconic David Fincher movie. And the reason is that the director is attempting to pull off something that is cut from the same cloth. Except it just isn’t what he hoped for it to be.
The whole point of the non-linear narrative format is to elevate the quality of storytelling and essentially make a film more engaging for the audience. This movie uses that just for the sake of looking cool. Everything is so random here, from the acting to the writing to the abrupt changes in tone. For a larger chunk of its runtime, we don’t even get what is really happening. And we don’t really care about it either. We Just wait for the torture to end. In fact, it doesn’t make any sense to me why someone, in their right mind, would go through The Unseen. Because there is absolutely nothing that can salvage this trainwreck that calls itself a film. In many ways, it seems like a bunch of entry-level cinephiles got high on cocaine and made something like a mash-up of the worlds of both David Fincher and David Lynch. The end result is godawful, and even that is an understatement.
With all that said, you are here for an explanation, and I bet you are just as frustrated as I am. The problem here is that at least sixty percent of the movie not only doesn’t make any sense but is also completely irrelevant in the matter of the ending. Hence, I am going to sift through that and try to serve you something rather cohesive and constructive.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Unseen Movie?
Adhering to a done-to-death horror movie trope, a woman gets strangled in the dead of night by a supernatural entity. The victim is later revealed to be Barbara, who used to be a doctor. The only brownie point The Unseen deserves is probably for casting RJ Mitte in the lead role. It is always nice to see that people with disabilities get opportunities like that their disabilities are not the focal point of the roles they’re playing. Mitte is, of course, quite famous for his role as Walter White Junior in the legendary “Breaking Bad,” and this movie gives a nod to that as well by introducing Mitte’s character while he is having his breakfast. For the uninitiated, breakfast and Mitte’s character became synonymous during the aforementioned show.
Anyway, Mitte plays Tommy, a law graduate who is about to pass the bar examination. Tommy’s overbearing father, Dan Olsen, is a hot-shot lawyer who is always terribly mean to his wife, Meredith. Tommy has an older sister, Lyndsey, and a younger sister, Kali; both of them have no significance per se. Dan gets furious when Tommy lands a job at a law firm called Jude and Teel, as the firm doesn’t have much credibility, and joining it would be a bad career choice. Tommy goes ahead and joins the firm anyway, where he is handed a lot of unsolved cold cases by his boss, Kristen. He also develops a good rapport with his colleague Olivia, which soon becomes a budding friendship with a hint of romance thrown in.
Meanwhile, similar murders like Barbara’s keep happening in the city of Chicago, where the movie is based. Tommy gets way too wrapped up in his investigation of these murders, which have basically ended up as his cold cases. He doesn’t reach far other than somehow deducing that his own father is the constant in all the cases. The rigorous investigation process takes a toll on him, and he starts having severe anxiety attacks. He even starts to lose time, often ending up with scratches and bruises on his body with no memory of how he got them. This eventually makes him ask the big question: is he the one who is murdering all the people?
‘The Unseen’ Ending Explained: Who Was The Murderer?
Let’s cut to the chase. When Tommy was in high school, he met a girl named Millie. Despite Millie being a wallflower, the two bonded. But the other students, including Bryce (one of the murder victims from the present), used to bully the poor little girl, and that almost escalated to the point of harassment. While Tommy didn’t like this or ever engage in it, he kept hanging out with the group of bullies in order to stay in the herd, I suppose. This is a classic case of what peer pressure can do to someone.
One night, after a party to which Millie was not invited but still went, the group planned to hang out at Bryce’s. As it was nearby, they set out for food despite the rain. At Millie’s insistence, Tommy asked her to tag along. But Bryce kept verbally abusing her, which reached its peak with him throwing Millie’s bag. While trying to save the bag in the middle of heavy rain, she was hit by a speeding car and died. And who was driving that car? It was actually Meredith, who was being protected by her no-nonsense husband, Dan, for these years. Who was Millie? Well, she was the child of Dan and Kristen, aka Tommy’s boss. It is unclear whether Meredith intentionally did it or not, but that hardly matters.
But who was the killer after all? Well, that was Millie as well. In the movie, people get randomly possessed by Millie’s ghost and do scary things. However, it is Tommy who Millie possesses and makes him kill all those people, all of whom were somewhat responsible for her death. It was a clear case of revenge, and if the movie had not been so convoluted, it probably would have worked out. Millie does forgive Tommy in the end, but only after making Meredith kill Dan. That is a blessing in a way, as Dan’s character was intolerable.
The whole point of the existence of a movie like The Unseen is to only realize our auteurs, like David Fincher, and their bodies of much superior work. The movie is a testament to how things can go wrong in incompetent hands. No offense to the director or anybody associated with it, as I am only discussing the content here. There is not much to discuss anyway.