The Reel Review
Traumatized by a nightmarish home invasion, a couple expecting a baby flee London for a tranquil life in the Irish countryside. But they soon face two new horrors – a band of marauding, mythical redcap goblins, and some unlawful neighbors who want to destroy their new home, in this Irish horror.
We use the term horror very loosely, because everything about this strange, scare-free film is off – from an incredibly silly screenplay, some ill-timed (and unintended?) comedy, and jarring tonal shifts that feel more like a weird mashup of Straw Dogs and way more evil Muppets. How Hannah John-Kamen (Brave New World, SAS: Red Notice) and Douglas Booth (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Worried About the Boy) were able to remain committed as the extremely pregnant wife and her doofus of a hubby is itself a mystery, with popular Irish character actor Colm Meaney (Hell on Wheels, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) also wasted as the patriarch of a violent local crime family that includes Derry Girls’ Jamie-Lee O’Donnell.
The only good aspect of this otherwise awful and dull film that looks like it was filmed on a soundstage is the redcap goblins – their practical effects are actually very well done. It’s just a shame that, other than a couple of gnarly kills for gore aficionados, Unwelcome is otherwise completely unwatchable.
• Redcaps are an extremely evil and murderous type of mythical goblin frequently described in English folklore dating back to the 1300s.
• Hannah John-Kamen also appeared in a couple of episodes in the sixth season of Game of Thrones as Ornela.
• Northern Irish director Jon Wright first made a name for himself with the 2012 horror/comedy Grabbers.