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  • The Unborn
    • The Unborn
    • Runtime:88 min
    • Release Date:2014-08-22 19:46:25
    • Director: David S. Goyer
    • Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:The Unborn
Auhtor:

   

… must have been the credits. only at first I didn't even make it
that far. I think I threw in the towel about half way through. The
poster gives it all away: If all you want is a smoking hot heroine,
scared and jumpy every now and then usually while in her underwear,
this is your movie. but be prepared for cheap thrills, a painfully
uninspired story and frighteningly lousy acting.

I did watch the rest of the movie later (thank god it was only a
rental), just to make sure I didn't miss anything and it wouldn't have
been fair to write a review based on only half of the experience. The
bottom line: Odette Yustman should go back to modeling, as an actress
she has nothing to offer and David S. Goyer should stick to the
superhero genre.

A true waste of money and a regrettable waste of time.

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*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The cameraman, or somebody who worked on this movie, knew how to
compose creepy-looking shots. Several of them were used for the
trailer, and again for the intro on the DVD, and in those places they
have the intended effect. But in the movie itself, creepy as they are,
they soon start to become amusing on account of the dopey story.

Here's what happens in the movie's first act. First scene: A girl is
out running–and sees a creepy thing. Second scene: She goes
babysitting–and sees a creepy thing. Third scene: She goes home–and
sees a creepy thing. Some of these she sees in her sleep, some not; she
has nightmares AND hallucinations AND she's being haunted. And haunted
by three different spirits (her brother, her great uncle, and a
dybbuk), which is two too many.

One stops being scared as soon as it becomes obvious that the only
purpose of every scene is to bring the girl into contact with some new
creepy thing–usually Pugsley Addams, or bugs–and after a while one
starts guessing which it's going to be and how soon it will pop up. A
little way in, she asks, woodenly–she's played by a Jennifer Connelly
type with only half the acting ability (which will give you some
idea)–"Why is this happening to me?????" I wanted to shout at
her–actually I did–"Because you're in a horror movie!!!!!"

In the second act, the girl resorts to the equivalent of a movie attic
to rummage through old family documents and get steered to the
character who Knows All About It (whose name someone has thoughtfully
circled in ink). At first this know-it-all character goes nuts on
seeing her ("No!!!!! Not that!!!!!") but later calls her up and asks
her over (after midnight!) to get the whole story. This character
advises an exorcism, and is even able to recommend a good exorcist–or,
well, not really, because he's never done one, but again, he Knows All
About It.

On her way to see him, the girl visits a rare book library to look at
one of those incredibly huge, leather-bound grimoires of the kind Giles
was always consulting on Buffy; and apparently the librarian is as
blind as a bat because the girl is able to walk out of the library with
it. Her subsequent conversation with the know-it-all rabbi, boiled
down, amounts to this:

- Where did you steal this book from?

- Shut up, I'm being haunted by a dybbuk.

- Now, now, that's only a story invented by ignorant people like
yourself. I've written a book on the subject….

- Shut up, I'm being haunted by a dybbuk.

- No, you're not. And if you were I wouldn't know how to get rid of it.
And if I did it still wouldn't work because you're a heathen.

- Shut up and translate the book.

- Go soak your head.

- Shut up and translate the book, I'm being haunted by a dybbuk.

- Oh, okay.

The remainder of this act consists largely of these two and others
being pursued by the evil spirit in the form of dogs, and humans
walking like dogs, with their heads put on upside down; I'm not sure of
the reason for this. The rabbi still believes nothing strange is going
on; dog with its head upside down, all in a day's work. But he agrees
to do the exorcism, anyway, enlisting the help of an Episcopal priest
(who subjects the girl to another patronizing lecture) and, apparently,
his entire basketball team.

The third act is all about the exorcism. In the course of this the
dybbuk begins possessing people sequentially, just like the alien in
the old Kyle Maclachlan movie, and one after another character suddenly
takes on the ugly face (like those TV actresses you haven't seen in
years who reappear after cosmetic surgery). Then one of them is pitched
over a balcony; and the evil spirit is laid to rest, apparently.

Ah, but this is a horror-movie "apparently"–when an evil spirit is
cast out it always comes back, regardless (and the movie never explains
why the ritual didn't work). There follows a surprise ending that's no
surprise, since the character has already been shown with morning
sickness, and then……and then nothing; that's it. Except for the
unhappy possibility of an Unborn 2.

P.S. I should mention that it's the theatrical version I've been
describing, not the version TOO SHOCKING TO SHOW IN THEATRES. It could
be that that one's really good.

…No, it couldn't.

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A Yiddish version of the Exorcist with the look and feel of a
modern-day Asian ghost story, supernatural/religious horror The Unborn
is an hour and a half of over-familiar clichéd garbage packed to the
rafters with cheap scares, muddled mysticism and gratuitous shots of
attractive but skinny star Odette Yustman in her underwear (surely it
wouldn't have hurt to have a couple of square meals every day for a
month or two before filming).

Writer/director David S. Goyer does manage to deliver some admittedly
effective visuals—a snarling dog with an upside-down head, a scuttling
old-age pensioner, a freaky woman with a huge gnarly mouth—but these
brief moments of technically impressive CGI-enhanced horror cannot make
up for the fact that his plot and directorial style is totally devoid
of originality.

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A young woman Casey Beldon believes she is being haunted by her brother
who died at birth and deceased mother. But as the truth unfolds she
must escape an evil that is closer to her than she thought.

Accomplished director and writer David S. Goyer builds up the tension
perfectly as the mystery unfolds. The cinematography is first-rate and
everything in the most ordinary shots are visually interesting. It's
location feel, the snow covered trees and roads add to the chilling
crispness of the film.

Jumpy, eerie, with the look of many modern horror Japanese films. At
times The Unborn is reminiscent of Mirrors, The Grudge and borrows from
The Exorcist and countless other horrors.

The lead, Megan Fox-alike and Cloverfield's Odette Yustman is excellent
as Casey and gives a great performance. Jane Alexander appears in a key
role as Sofi Kozma and is note worthy. Garry Oldman is on form as
usual, and in a small role is given some meaty exposition of well
written dialogue. However, he appears out of place in this particular
horror.

The spooky nightmare segments are well executed and are genuinely
creepy. There are some effective jump scares that utilise the very
sound well. This coupled with the camera work and lighting create an
edgy dream-like feel. Nevertheless, ghosts, demons, web-cams, exorcism,
Nazis experiments, occults, bugs, blood, nightmarish visions, sleep
paralysis, to name a few, Goyer's screenplay packs in a wide variety of
horror themes and idea's. Oddly, it's horror just for horror's sake,
which mar's the story and pacing. In this case less would have been
more.

The elaborate and blatant effects driven ending let's down the great
visuals that came before. That said, technically and atheistically,
it's a well crafted horror film, which is wonderfully shot.

Overall, there's a lot worse horrors out there and this is more
effective than the recent Nightmare on Elm Street remake, but The
Unborn never commits itself to one particular idea and tries too hard
to include everything previously mentioned.

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