Evil will do anything to live.
David S. Goyer
Running Time: 87 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 15
Country: United States
I dont know why I thought there might be something about The Unborn worth watching. Oh waityes I do. The trailer had a scary dog with a mask, and Gary Oldman plays a rabbi. Judge me if you will, but I hoped that maybe those two things were just a hint of what was to come. OK, I didnt really think thatI didnt actually hold out much hope at alland yet, still, I managed to be disappointed.
Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman) is your typical college freshman, hanging out with her friends, having pseudo-intellectual chats about the nature of existence with her boyfriend, dreaming about fetuses and hallucinating about nasty bugs. When that last part starts to get to hernot to mention, she also discovers shes part of a twinship and that somehow her part killed her brothers part in-uteroshe starts looking into the apparent suicide of her mother. Her quest leads her to the enigmatic Sofi, an elderly woman who tells her tales of bad spirits, known as dybbuks in Jewish lore, that are on the lookout for bodies to inhabitand may have tried to inhabit her brother. Things go from bad to worse, and like these things always do, it all ends with an exorcism.
At just under 90 minutes, you cant expect too much character development or attention to detail, but some would have been nice. Instead, we are faced with a lead character whos as bland as beige, and if the audience doesnt care whether the heroine lives or dies, the movies bound to suffer. But its not just that Casey is boringits that the story, even though it actually sounds OK on paper, is presented as a chopped up mess of scenes that dont flow, feeling instead like bits of exposition and attempts at visual scariness pieced together hastily without much thought to minor elements like plot or consistency. Supposedly, Casey cuts herself off from the world when the bad starts, but really, are we supposed to believe that no oneher best friend, loving boyfriend, dad she lives withare checking in regularly? The parts that looked promising in the trailer, like the freaky-eyed little boy or upside-down headed old guy, are, unfortunately, shown in the trailer and not nearly as disturbing in the actual film. It was nice to go with Jewish demon mythology instead of the traditional Christian devils, but rumor has it that this whole dybbuk thing was already about to be explored in Ghost House Pictures upcoming Dibbuk Box, though I cant imagine that The Unborn is going to be remembered as the point of reference for Jewish demons. I say, whatever happens, youre better off waiting for any other incarnation, even if it never happens, than sitting through this one.
It's Got: Gary Oldman in a role he was quite possibly threatened into taking, a few minor scares, a back story that couldve been good.
It Needs: A more developed lead, scarier scares, less choppy scene-to-scene flow.
Theres really no good reason for this film to have been made, and even with a couple of mild screams, theres also no really good reason to see it.