(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Series: "The Unknowable"

Where You Can Stream It: YouTube

The Pitch: One fateful night in 1948, Thaddeus Wilcox fled his seemingly perfect home in San Francisco with his wife, Fanny, and her mute sister, Mabel, and headed to the Mojave Desert, to a strip known as Silent Creek. It was there he attempted to make contact with an unknown species not of this earth, prompted by frightening visions and his wife's strange dreams. But in doing so, he unexpectedly invited in something even worse, something more sinister than he could've imagined, creating a disturbing pathway to one of the most haunting stories the world we live in may never know … that is, until now, with "The Unknowable."

Vintage cosmic horror in the California desert (that is only 40 minutes long)? Let's go.

Why It's Essential Viewing

Let's start here: Have you ever seen "The Den"? The brilliance of that little-known, criminally underseen screenlife horror gem is fodder for another day on "The Daily Stream," but it's crucial to mention because the film's writer-director, Zachary Donahue, is the unexpected creator of "The Unknowable." Those of you who have seen "The Den" will probably be taken by surprise by this information because the two pieces of horror media could not be more different. But the unforeseen scope of Donahue's talent across the board—from the directing to the editing of both projects, and especially the writing of this latest piece—is undeniable with this latest work, a 40-minute found footage tale that is so stylized and specific, it's nearly impossible to not be captivated by it.

First off, "The Unknowable" is told as an episodic documentary in ten parts that follows the Wilcox family from their relocation to Silent Creek until the end of their lives. Donahue uses modern black and white footage he shot for the project alongside found clips of the era, with repeating imagery being a cornerstone of establishing character, plot, and locations. The piece is narrated by a man (Sean Burgos) who will instantly make the series feel like Wes Anderson's answer to cosmic horror, but his narrations seep into your psyche and become the perfect guide through the Wilcox's story. His cadence paired with Donahue's writing is pitch-perfect for the vintage feel of the series and the general excitement its story brings.

A New Take On Cosmic Horror

The performances in the series, though they are entirely wordless as per the documentary style of the piece, are stylistic and smart, giving us just enough to get into the character visually. From there, we create a three-dimensional version of them in our heads when adding in the narrator's words. It's a great collaboration between actors and the creative lead that really works to Donahue's advantage here. Add in the mystical overlay of the series' haunting and otherworldly score, and you've got yourself a series firing on all cylinders.

The series is pure cosmic horror, and there are so many ways to interpret such a broad (yet generally well-defined) subgenre. Donahue manages to make the concept feel so unique and special within the world he's created—and hoo boy, is there a ton of impeccable world-building in this series—and he doesn't shy away from intricacies within the cosmic horror shell. The series steers into sci-fi at some points with its attention to detail, but he also manages to stay true to the core of cosmic horror: that which we could never truly comprehend.

Shorter films have been steadily coming back over recent years, and with a sub-40 minute run time here, "The Unknowable" couldn't be more of a pocket-sized watch that packs a real punch. Donahue gets in and gets out, letting his concepts and creations wash over you while you continue to consider them in the aftermath. The point is, of course, that his story is, in and of itself, unknowable at its core, but it in no way cheapens the journey that brings the audience to that realization. In fact, it's one of the most unique and fun cosmic horror rollercoasters I've ever had the pleasure to ride — and it couldn't be more worth your time.

Read this next: The Best Cosmic Horror Movies That Will Make You Hate The Unknown

The post The Daily Stream: The Unknowable Is the Wes Anderson Answer to Cosmic Horror From an Unexpected Genre Talent appeared first on /Film.