The creative team that was behind Grabbers (2012), that little horror-comedy featuring an island off the coast of Ireland getting invaded by bloodsucking aliens where the heroes discover that getting drunk is the only way to survive and became some sort of a cult-item in the scene is back with Unwelcome (2022). Although this time the tone is more serious and somber and the title is close to the folk-horror sub-genre.
Unwelcome (2022) centers on Londoners Maya and Jamie, a couple expecting their first child. When they inherit a house in rural Ireland, they seize the opportunity to get away from all the hustle and bustle and dangers of the big city. But as they settle into their new home, they are warned of an evil presence that has been coexisting in the woods for generations, malevolent, murderous goblins lurking in the gnarled, ancient wood at the foot of their new garden. Heavily pregnant, Maya is soon targeted by the goblins and the family she befriended after forgetting to make sure the creatures are fed. Who – or what – will come to her rescue and what extremes will she go to to protect her unborn child?
Jon Wright, the man behind the awards-winner Grabbers (2012) but also responsible for Tormented (2009) and Robot Overlords (2014), is the co-writer and director of Unwelcome (2022). His frequent collaborator Mark Stay is also the co-writer.
Hannah John-Kamen, Douglas Booth, Colm Meaney, Kristian Nairn, Chris Walley, and Niamh Cusack form the main cast.
Unwelcome (2022) is Rated R for strong violence and gore, pervasive language, some drug use, and sexual material. It premiered at the Sitges Film Festival in October 2022 where it was part of the Oficial Fantàstic – Out of Competition section. Later, it was released in Ireland on January 27, 2023, receiving mostly positive reviews.
Movies magazine Little White Lies reviewed the film as saying that “anyone who has seen director Jon Wright‘s previous boozy creature comedy Grabbers (2012) might expect Unwelcome (2022) to resemble the madcap chaos of Gremlins or Ghoulies, [but] the tone is more sober…. the psychological and the supernatural similarly abut one another as two sides of the same divide“, adding “vivid metaphors for the trauma which sufferers can negotiate only at a costly price. Straw Dogs (1971) and Wrong Turn (2003) meet Irish folk horror“. John Nugent in Empire said “in the CGI era, practical effects are fast becoming a lost cinematic art. On that basis alone, then, we should be grateful for Unwelcome (2022). This is a film that benefits greatly from the practical execution of its puckish perils, a glorious hark back to an era when tiny imps really did look like they could scratch your eyes out“.
The movie is out internationally on March 10, 2023.
Watch the official trailer for Unwelcome (2022).