THE UNSETTLING is a new horror series on Netflix. Originally aired on Awesomeness TV, this does have a lot of potential but also comes across as a teen-drama. Still, the cult-like element of the plot should get you hooked. Read our The Unsettling series review here!

THE UNSETTLING is a new horror series on Netflix that also includes a few fantasy elements. With just eight 30-minute episodes, you can watch the entire season in no time. While I am not a fan of the teen-drama that does take up a lot of space, I did enjoy the story about this cult-like religion.

The name alone is enough to make my skin crawl; “New Purity”. It’s the kind of name that carries the potential for so many sinister acts. At least it has in the past – whether we’re talking about various religions or simply the Salem witch hunts. Attaining purity is usually attached to pain.

Continue reading our The Unsettling series review below. We’ve watched the first four episodes (half the series) for this review.

Classic teen-drama in the horror genre

The Unsettling is first and foremost a series for teens. At least that’s how I felt watching it. However, it is also very much a horror series and the horror is front and center. It’s just that the main characters are teenagers and act accordingly. I know this will be irritating to some adult Netflix viewers but you could still check it out for the horror.

Actually, my main issue with the teen-aspect is the fact that they’re behaving like stereotypical teens. It gets real old, real fast. Especially since it feels both demeaning and unfair to teenagers. I expect most of us can still remember what being a teenager was like (despite it begin several decades ago). While we may have done some stupid things, most of us weren’t actual idiots!

In The Unsettling, the story plays out in a very rural area. A seemingly nice (and very religious) couple lives on a farm and takes in several foster children. These foster kids seem happy enough – especially since they’ve often been in terrible foster homes prior to this one.

Along with having four foster kids, they have their own biological son and he’s definitely a little devil. His name is Dominic and apparently, he’s somewhat of a miracle child sent from God. However, he comes across more like Damien from The Omen. This Dominic kid is so insanely creepy that it becomes plain irritating.

This is a recurring problem for this series: Everything is pushed to such an extreme that you can guess most plot developments. Just imagine the dumbest thing you could do in any given situation, then you’ll soon see one of the teenagers do just that!

The Unsettling – Netflix Series Review

A cast with a few familiar faces

While The Unsettling might not be filled to the brim with familiar faces, you should still recognize a few of the actors. For starters, the main character Becca is portrayed by Holly Taylor. She’s been in several seasons of The Americans, which should make her familiar to a lot of viewers. Holly Taylor is also in the 2020 thriller We Still Say Grace which is another religion-themed story for her.

Another one of the foster kids will definitely be familiar to most. The character’s name is Maya and she’s played by Willow Shields who was Primrose Everdeen in The Hunger Games franchise.

If you’ve watched the Light as a Feather teen horror series, Alex Lange might be familiar. He plays Silas in this new series and he isn’t one of the foster kids. He will probably attract many teen girls (and a few boys) to The Unsettling series on Netflix. The same goes for Tequan Richmond (Thriller), who plays the foster son Connor, and tries helping Becca figure out what’s going on. 

Watch The Unsettling series on Netflix!

The director of The Unsettling series is Chris Grismer. He previously directed episodes of TV series such as The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars. This should give you an idea of what to expect – even though The Unsettling is nowhere near as polished or elegant as those two series. This one is much more like a soap opera, which should tell you a lot.

The Unsettling was written by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson for AwesomenessTV. This company also created the Netflix series Trinkets along with the aforementioned Light as a Feather. Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson also wrote the spoof movies Another Teen Movie (2001) and Extreme Movie (2008). In other words, they’re used to teen-driven plots, but in a comedy setting.

With The Unsettling, there is absolutely no comedy, which is ultimately a shame. It becomes too heavy and serious in a way that seems to talk down to teenagers. It almost feels as if it’s written to the “tween” demographic. Ghosts, creepy sons in religious families, and strange locked cellar doors do not seem like elements for a tween series. 

The series originally aired on Awesomeness TV and has been sold to various distributors worldwide. In Scandinavia, it was released on HBO Nordic back in the summer of 2019, so it’s been around for quite some time. Still, only the eight episodes in season 1 exist so far. Unless The Unsettling becomes a huge hit on Netflix, I doubt we should expect more in the future.

The Unsettling is out on Netflix in the US from February 1, 2021.

Details

Director: Chris Grismer
Stars: Holly Taylor, Joy Goodman, Tequan Richmond, Travis Hammer, Willow Shields

Plot

Becca, a 16-year-old girl, arrives at her new foster home located in a remote area. Her foster siblings are less than welcoming but none more so than the 11-year-old biological son of their foster parents. Becca tries to keep to herself and adjust to her new home, but strange things start to happen around her, and Becca is uncertain about who or what is responsible.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina