‘Unseen’ (2023) Ending, Explained: Does Emily Escape From Charlie?


Was “Unseen” about a woman without sight trying to find her way to safety or an ad for LASIK? Glasses can be a tiny bit of a hassle, but we have to applaud the writers’ imagination for taking it as far as they did. Also, we know that doctors need to have certain conversation skills to get the patients to open up to them but are they all as good as Emily? That was a revelation for us and our prejudices. Initially, when we saw that “Unseen” was just about an hour long, we weren’t sure whether it could establish a proper narrative or an emotional connection between the characters and the audience. But our doubts were put to rest soon enough as “Unseen” does that rather well. This is just an example of how effective good writing can be. But we were disappointed a tad bit when we found that even with such a short time span, there were bits that let our attention stray. However, this was still a movie with some excellent writing, and we can’t ignore that. This is how it all unfolds. 

Spoilers Ahead

Why Was Emily Kidnapped?

Emily has been near-blind all her life and cannot function without her glasses. When she wakes up one day, she finds her hands and legs bound with zip ties. She has been kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend, Charlie, as he cannot accept that she broke up with him. Charlie tells Emily that he doesn’t want to spend his life wondering what Emily’s life is like without him, and he plans on taking care of that by killing her. Emily is scared, but she thinks on her feet and tells him that they can talk through their problems. She asks for her glasses, and when he goes to get them, she takes the opportunity to get free. She attacks Charlie and grabs her phone, but while escaping from his cabin, she accidentally breaks her glasses. Either way, she manages to call 911 the moment she gets out, and they tell her that while they can try to locate her, it would take them a while. Emily asks them to turn on their video to guide her out of wherever she is since she can’t see, but 911 doesn’t have video services, and they are not allowed to use their personal devices. Talk about bureaucracy lacking common sense. 

When 911’s call gets disconnected, Emily scrambles to place another call, but it isn’t easy since her phone screen is broken. However, the wrong number she had received a call from a while back gets dialed, and the woman on the other side picks up, Sam. Sam works at a gator-themed gas station, and we can see that she is completely depressed. When she gets the call from Emily, who begs her to not disconnect as she is her last hope, Sam agrees to help her and switches to video. Sam is clearly anxious about making a mistake, and Emily tries to calm her down by talking about other things. This is what we meant when we referred to those conversation skills.

Meanwhile, Charlie has become conscious once again and is out to find Emily. He hears her when she gets free of her zip ties with some instructions from Emily. Her scream alerts him to her location. But while Charlie is yet to catch up with her, and with some help from a customer at her store, Sam guides Emily to a stream, saying that it might lead her to some help. But things go a little wrong as Sam’s charger breaks in her phone, and it is going to run out of battery soon. As Sam scrambles to fix it, Charlie finds Emily. But before he can harm her, Emily decides to go on the offensive and wants to run him over, which she does despite Sam’s protests. But she thinks better of it before stabbing him to finish off the task, with Sam helps talking her out of it. But currently, with Emily out of immediate danger, Sam notes down Emily’s number and hurries to find a phone.

Sam’s Phone 

Before Emily called Sam, the latter had an entitled customer show up at her workplace demanding a refund because she pumped the wrong gas by accident. Now, she is back since she left her card at the station. When Sam tries to borrow her phone, she refuses, so Sam has no choice but to grab it and lock herself inside the station to communicate with Emily. But the problem is that the last two digits of Emily’s phone number are smudged, so Sam is stuck trying every possible number in the hopes of reaching Emily.

Meanwhile, Charlie finds Emily, and to escape from him, she falls into the stream and is carried away by it. Emily decided to be a doctor so that she could spend more time with her mother, who was a nurse. However, now that she is a doctor, she doesn’t have time to spend with her mother, and that really pulls at her heart. When she is washed away by the stream, Emily has all but given up hope when finally, she gets the call from Sam. Emily is relieved, but she doesn’t think she is going to make it. She asks Sam to call her mother from the landline and admits that she did not dial her first because she felt more comfortable asking a stranger for help than admitting to her mother that she was wrong. In a twisted sort of way, we understand what Emily means; in fact, every Asian kid understands what Emily means. 

‘Unseen’ Ending Explained: How Does Emily Escape From Charlie?

When Sam calls Emily’s mom, she senses that her daughter is in trouble, and as much as she and Sam are encouraging Emily to not give up hope, even they can’t see what they can do right now since it is already dark. But when Sam spots a light behind Emily, she asks her to go towards it, as there might be help for her. However, Emily is unable to get up and has pretty much accepted what is to come. But Sam keeps pushing her, and Emily finds it in herself to get on her feet and make her way. But the light turns out to be the flashlight in Charlie’s hand. Sam spots a barn and guides Emily towards it. Charlie follows her inside, but she is able to escape from him by planting a decoy with some hay and her jacket. Emily catches him unaware and sprays his eyes with a liquid. However, he overpowers her, which is when Sam reminds her of the piece of glass in her pocket. Emily acts in time and stabs him with it, finally setting herself free of him.

As for Sam, there is an entire circus going on outside the gas station. Carol’s husband has shown up with guns to break down the place and take back Carol’s phone. Even the gas station manager is banging on the door, but Sam has held out to help Emily. Just as Emily is finally safe, the police take Sam into custody, and she leaves with them while flipping off her manager, Carol, and her husband.

A few days later, Emily is safe and well, and she is with her mom. She still hasn’t got her LASIK surgery done, but she and Sam have developed a great friendship. Sam tells her that she wants to go back to school, and Emily is ready to go over her application. As Sam drives into the sunset, she throws away the card that started it all with the wrong number. It was a card for a suicide helpline service. All this time, Sam has held herself responsible for not being by her mother’s side during her final moments because she took a break from taking care of her. But when she saved Emily, she knew she had come through for someone, and the fog lifted from her mind. Sam had saved Emily, but Emily had also unknowingly saved Sam. The two found each other at the right time.

Final Thoughts: What Works For ‘Unseen’ Film?

Our favorite part in a movie about two people in need, working to save each other was the scene where Emily tells Charlie that his monologues are bad. We agree that nobody talks like that; hence, we must ask: was the actor being cringe on purpose? Probably because as extra as he was, there was a similar parallel in Sam’s situation with Carol and her gun-wielding husband, which had also felt like a bit much. And we can’t believe we are saying this, but despite its short runtime, we think that there were still moments that could have been edited out. But we want to know which phone Emily is using that can survive multiple falls, a cracked screen, and a dip in the water yet still take calls. “Unseen” is a movie you watch when you are in an experimental mood, and it serves well for that. It is a weekday watch, not a weekend one. We won’t be able to explain it, but that is how it feels. 

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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