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Puppets make everything better

Just hours into our return home from vacation the wife and I were ready to collapse into our chairs and watch a horror movie. And with its sparse, not-quite-accurate description on Shudder, we immediately settled on Unwelcome (2023).

Featuring some familiar faces, Unwelcome is the story of Maya and James, a couple struggling to find peace after they're violently attacked in their London home. But while the trauma of the attack is the primary motivator, self-identification is the primary drive: what it means to be a man, a protector, an expectant mother, Irish, and a keeper of tradition and "old ways."

The first and second acts of the film are often uncomfortable, from the attack itself to the conflicts between the expectant parents and the general contracting family they hire to repair the Irish country home they inherit. Jamie-Lee O'Donnell and Chris Walley, who play two of the three adult children of the contractor, are especially painful to watch, and risk ruining the film.

But nothing can ruin the joy of the Redcaps.

Pure b-movie enthusiasm makes the third act of this film, when Maya seeks the help of the little people after being attacked by humans once again. And to our benefit, the film doesn't keep its monstrous figures in the shadows, instead letting the audience feast their eyes on murder puppets as they violently dismember their targets. The Redclaps are vicious and gleeful. They're murder muppets, sure to delight any horror-loving child of the 80s and 90s who fondly remember The Labrynth and The Muppet Show.

Could more be said about the movie's plot? Sure. Would it stand up to prolonged critical analysis? Who cares! This is one to watch for the spectacle. It's definitely a good time. Murder puppets make everything better.

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