The Unhealer is fun, 80s-style revenge horror

The Unhealer - Courtesy of Scream Factory/Ian Fisher
The Unhealer - Courtesy of Scream Factory/Ian Fisher /

After hitting multiple film festivals, supernatural horror film The Unhealer is now available on Blu-ray and Video on Demand, and it’s a fun, often gory film.

The Unhealer has won multiple film festival awards, including the New York City International Film Festival’s Best Director, Best Feature Film, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Lead Actress and Best Lead Actor awards.

The Unhealer movie review

Teenager Kelly is one of those kids who gets bullied and made fun of at school, because, let’s face it, he’s a little strange. Kelly suffers from an eating disorder called pica, which results in him eating non-food items regularly. For example, he buys one of those noodle soup mixes that comes in a microwavable Styrofoam container, and instead of eating the soup, he eats the paper seal and then starts breaking off chunks of the Styrofoam to eat those as well. Naturally, the kind, compassionate kids at school have nicknamed him “Trash Boy.”

Luckily enough for Kelly, Dominique is his friend. She is a girl at school who seems to be popular, but is kind to him, even seeming to actually like him. She frequently takes up for him when the other popular kids start picking on him.

The Unhealer
The Unhealer – Courtesy of Scream Factory/Ian Fisher /

Kelly has a weary, hard-working single mom named Bernice, and she is very worried about him. Eating items that are not intended to be eaten results in a lot of doctor’s visits, but luckily, Kelly’s doctor has a crush on Bernice, and makes house calls.

One day, Bernice witnesses a faith healer/con man named Pflueger miraculously making a woman’s leg pain go away, and she approaches him to ask for his help with Kelly. Pflueger is happy to do so, for a price, and here’s the thing: he is a horrible, money-grubbing man who drinks heavily and takes drugs…but he does have some power.

As it turns out, Pflueger’s power comes from an artifact that he stole from a local Native American burial ground, and he laughs off Chief Red Elk when he demands it be returned. Be that as it may, Pflueger is more than happy to take Bernice’s money, but things go bad for him when he “heals” Kelly.

Afterward, Kelly’s pica does seem to be under control, but he now has a very special power himself. When the local bullies try to harm him, they end up feeling it themselves. A punch in the face may initially cause Kelly’s nose to bleed, but he almost instantly heals, and his attacker feels the punch and starts bleeding.

Naturally, the bullies don’t like this, and a prank they pull ends up harming someone Kelly loves. That’s when Kelly starts using his special powers to get revenge, and it gets pretty bloody, kids.

The cast is solid, and Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Near Dark) gives an incredibly energetic, fun, crazed performance as Pflueger. I wish his character had more time onscreen, but he definitely makes the most of the time he does have. Natasha Henstridge (Species, Ghosts of Mars) is terrific as Bernice, and Elijah Nelson and Kayla Carlson are likable and sympathetic as Kelly and Dominique.

What I liked most about The Unhealer was the 80s horror vibe it gave off

It made me think of films like Pumpkinhead and Christine, where you have deep sympathy for the revenge-seeking character, but also know that they are taking things too far. The special effects were pretty gnarly too, and I mean that in the best possible way. Again, it was a call-back to the practical makeup effects of 1980s horror films.

I guess it’s not really considered pc to use the old trope of the Indian burial ground, but it works here. I didn’t really read it as “Native Americans are evil”, I figure the spirits have a right to be angry when a fake shaman takes their treasured artifacts. And that too put me in mind of the horror films of my youth.

Shout! Studios have released The Unhealer on Blu-ray and VOD, so you can stream it on iTunes, Amazon Video, or pretty much any of your favorite on demand platforms, or buy the Blu-ray on Amazon.

dark. Next. Welcome back to Woodsboro: spoiler-free review of Scream

Have you watched The Unhealer? Tell us what you thought about it in the comments section.