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RELEASED: 2009, Cert. 15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 88 mins
DIRECTOR/SCREENPLAY: David S Goyer
PRODUCERS: Andrew Form & Brad Fuller
MUSIC: Ramin Djawadi
Odette Annable as Casey
Cam Gigandet as Mark
Meagan Good as Romy
Gary Oldman as Rabbi Sendak
Idris Elba as Arthur Wyndham
Jane Alexander as Sofi Kozma
FILM ONLY REVIEW
When Casey begins to have strange dreams and visions involving an equally strange child and a dog, she speaks to Sofi Kozma, an elderly lady who informs her that she (Casey) is being haunted by the spirit of her twin brother who died in the womb.
With the help of her friend Romy, her boyfriend Mark, Rabbi Sendak and priest Arthur Wyndham, Casey attempts to remove herself from the evil force of her dead twin brother.
The Unborn begins very well, creating a creepily sinister atmosphere. The child figure haunting Casey makes some scary appearances, with the music hiking up the chill levels beautifully.
However, once the film gets really underway, it just becomes more and more ludicrous by the minute, resulting in some way over the top scenes and over-use of special effects...special effects which aren't all that good anyway.
The acting is tolerable, although nothing worth writing home about, but what struck me harder than anything in The Unborn, is how somebody can experience what Casey was going through, yet still for the most part seems relatively unaffected in their day to day life. True, she was scared and nervous, but once the film dug into the heavy stuff, her fear levels were grossly understated from what would be a normal human reaction to the bizarre events which were occurring.
The longer the film went on, the more tedious it quickly became for me, and I found myself watching a storyline which has been done so many times before, only far better. There was one point - and those who've already seen The Unborn will know what I mean - where I had to laugh, and it was the scene with the flugelhorn. I don't know why, but it just touched on my sense of humour, which I'm certain wasn't intended by the direction/production team, as this throughout is a very serious, even if ham-fisted film.
I liked Casey's initial dream scene right at the beginning, but those which followed took on a level of repetitiveness and ridiculousness which squashed any scary elements within the film altogether.
The best part for me about The Unborn, apart from the very beginning, was the music, which was chilling, perhaps overall being the only thing which held it all together and kept me watching. There are some pretty boring stretches in the film, and even though from start to finish it isn't overly long, it seemed as if it was going on for hours and hours. There are also some major loopholes in the plot, together with a lack of proper follow-through, almost as if the storyline opened up various avenues of potential interest which weren't travelled down, and just left them hanging in mid-air, almost as if they hadn't happened. Also, Casey's father wasn't involved anywhere near as much as I feel he should have been....and, looking at the end of the film, what the hell would she have said to him afterwards?
The Unborn I believe is something made purely for entertainment value, but it didn't give me anything solid or interesting enough to warrant receiving my full, un-fudged, focused attention.
Overall, the storyline is weak in the sense that it has been done so many times before, the acting is mediocre (even that of Gary Oldman), the special effects at certain points are laughable and there are so many loose ends and avenues the storyline could have more interestingly travelled down, yet they were either accidentally or by design, not followed through.
If somebody chooses to make a horror film of this nature, then it actually does have to be meaningful and scary, but The Unborn simply isn't, except for at the very beginning.
In summary, The Unborn is an untidy, rather tedious and repetitive conglomeration of nonsense that probably is better stashed away in a box and forgotten about. I really think film directors should cease trying to re-hash and re-create ideas which have been done before and maybe outlived their usefulness, that is unless they are able to break new cinematic ground....and this one certainly offers nothing new. My recommendation would be to steer well clear unless you enjoy being bored.
At the time of writing, The Unborn can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £1.48 to £30.73 (I have ignored the one costing £899.99 as I believe the seller is on a wind-up)
Used: from 23p to £10.00
Some items on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user nane ~~
A friend of mine has been raving about this film for years since it was released in 2009. She said it was suspenseful, exciting and downright scary, which as someone who enjoys horror movies was appealing to me. Maybe I'm a bit late to follow her advice, but yesterday I finally watched the film 4 years on!
The film was written and directed by David S. Goyer and stars Odette Yutsam who plays a tormented, young college student followed by a ghost from Jewish folklore called a 'Dybbuk'. From the context of the film we learn that this is a spirit who is unable to enter heaven and as such is desperate to find a body so as to be born again. It is a supernatural horror-thriller with elements of the occult and terror combined.
The film focuses on Casey Beldon, a seemingly normal woman who suddenly begins to have terrifying nightmares and is haunted by the suicide of her mother from when she was a small child. The nightmares are one of the most frightening aspects of the film as they combine different phobias in one chilling scene. For example, in one scene she is attacked by an army of horrible insects which are similar to locusts and hornets. In this way, it is as though she is enduring some kind of Biblical plague which although has relevance to a film which attempts to use old religious practices to create tension and some kind of shock factor it is also a bit far fetched. But of course this is something we have come to expect from our horror films, with grossly beasts a terrifying addition.
Other creepy elements include stalking figures such as a small child and a dog who wears a mask that mimic this child's face. The child's face is covered in copious amounts of makeup to create a corpse-like appearance which is very over the top in that is about 5 shades of purple too much. As well as this, like the majority of horror movies, CGI is used to turn the heads of certain characters upside down, distort their body shapes and morphs their faces into vicious fangs and a frothing mouth.
Gary Oldman stars as a Rabbi whom Casey asks to perform an exorcism. He too is a target of the haunting figures but manages to survive his battles with it as according to one character in the film, fear helps one to defeat the spirit. His acting is pretty good, as is most of the acting in the film however I became confused when his accent blurred the lines between American and English, especially when he began to shout. This reduced the consistency within the film and confused me somewhat when I began to question whether I was hearing things or suddenly the character had changed nationality.
One of the main themes within the film is World War II, especially the treatment of twins in Auschwitz. One scene shows a dybbuk enter the body of Sofi's brother (Casey's older friend and later revealed relative) as she voices over explaining the circumstances that lead to the event as well as how she killed her brother in order to expel the spirit from his empty shell of a body (at this point he had already died and his body was simply used as a vessel to exhibit torment by the dybbuk). This was a somewhat interesting element to touch upon, particularly for someone like me who is an avid learner and has a keen interest in history. This meant that my expectations of the film were set a little high and I was disappointed at their execution as I felt they had wasted a somewhat interesting concept.
I felt that the soundtrack for this horror movie was particularly interesting as it was both haunting and anxiety building. Composed by Ramin Djawadi, it beautifully complements the film at moments where suspense is being built and was one of my favourite aspects of the film. I always find it somewhat funny that horror movies, or thrillers, are often the films with the most intriguing soundtracks, a way to appeal to a larger audience, perhaps?
An anonymous review from Rotten Tomatoes puts it exactly as I would like in saying 'The Unborn is packed full of grisly images and effects, but its apparent attempts to be some kind of Jewish take on The Exorcist fail miserably.' The similarities between the Exorcist and the Unborn were uncanny, even with one particular scene in which a character suddenly began croaking in a very similar manner to the main character from the Exorcist, as well as the convulsing the character displays.
Really, there isn't much to say in terms of the advantages of this film. In my opinion, it tries too hard to be jumpy and thought provoking and yet it lacks any significantly interesting dialogue or action. I was disappointed greatly with the execution of a storyline that could have potentially been pretty interesting and the directing itself was equally as lacking. It wasn't very scary or thrilling at all to be honest. From the exuberant recommendation my friend gave me my hopes were high for this film, but having now watched it, I'm not necessarily disappointed I waited 4 years to get around to it! David S. Goyer missed the mark with this one, wasting an excellent opportunity to create a unique film with a new concept, but instead decided to simply re-do aspects of the Exorcist and waste 88 minutes of my time.
I don't usually like supernatural thrillers as much as horrors/thrillers based on solid ground. They tend to lack believability and their creepy edge is often blunted by far-fetched events and half-hearted acting in favour of effects and religious chanting. The Unborn is no exception to the latter, but its cast helped to keep a few stars on my overall rating.
The Unborn introduces us to Casey Beldon (played by Odette Yustman, who was previously in Cloverfield), a young woman alone babysitting one night. After a strange nightmare shakes her up, she recounts it to Romy, her best friend. The rest of the film extends this nightmare as Casey is increasingly 'haunted' by a creepy evil child and dog. Convinced there's more to this than a psychological predisposition, she visits an ophthalmologist. As her mother is dead and unwilling to speak to her father about the issue at first, she asks the expert if she has a sibling she was unaware of. Surprise surprise, her mother did indeed have another son, who sadly died in the womb.
On the hunt for more clues, she discovers some hidden goodies in her house, including a letter to 'Sofi'. With Romy in tow, Casey pays a visit to Sofi. Unreluctant and avoidant at first, the old woman later calls Casey to tell her she's in danger. That's right, at danger from an unborn brother.
Romy seems quite knowledgeable in evil spirits, which is maybe why Casey kept her as a best friend, in case her knowledge was ever required. They visit a Rabbi to see if he can help, as you would. He wasn't convinced at first, but when he 'sees' this evil for himself, he sets out to help Casey rid herself of this demon child.
Okay, so I'm little sceptical about the events up until now, but I wont say anymore in case I ruin the 'plot'! The upside to the film is actually the Rabbi, played by Gary Oldman. I didn't really expect to see him but it added a bit of interest for me, and Yustman was actually quite good in her role as the tormented young woman.
The later scenes gave way to some more effects, and an Omen style religious chanting session, which I wasn't too favourable of. It had a dark-ish feel to it and some atmosphere, but it was all a little cliché to be gripping for me. The outcome was acceptable but I didn't feel this film really added anything strikingly original to the supernatural horror genre. I felt like it could have done more to be original, even though the premise was perhaps a little quirky, the script and scenes seemed to let it down because nothing really grabbed my attention or built up the atmosphere enough for this to be called 'creepy' or 'chilling'. The best bit was perhaps the unexpected encounter with Mr Oldman.
The cover of the DVD reads : "Evil will do anything to live" and "Evil wants to be born now", which I thought sounded more exciting than the film itself was to watch. It wasn't the worst film I've seen this year, and for fans of such films it will probably make a reasonable watch, but I found myself a bit tired of it not long after pressing play.
RRP £19.99 but selling on Amazon for £3.99
Rated Certificate 15, 84 minutes running time, 2009.
I have a serious fear of children who hang around haunting people, I don't know what it is but they scare me so so much! So when my friend suggested we go and see the Unborn at the cinema, I wasn't looking forward to it one bit. Not surprising to me, I ended up crying in the cinema and having nightmares about a little boy haunting me!!!
The movie is based around Casey Beldon, a student who lives with her father and lost her mother when she was very young.
At the beginning of the movie, Casey is jogging in the park and, following a series of events, finds a dead baby buried in the woods. She then wakes up and we realise it is a dream.
We then see Casey louging on a sofa, talking to her best friend Romy on the phone, they are discussing the dream and trying to figure out what it may mean. Romy asks Casey if 'the kids are asleep', and we soon learn that Casey is babysitting for her neighbours. She says that they are asleep but then hears movement upstairs.
Casey goes up to see what the noise is and sees the elder child over the baby's bed with a mirror. He tells the baby to 'look in the mirror. Some people are doorways'. When Casey asks what he is doing he says 'Jumby wants to be born now'.
I don't want to give the plot away, but the rest of the movie is based around Casey's visions of this young boy, who turns out to be Jumby. He seems to turn up everywhere and Casey goes to visit a woman who she thinks may be able to help. The woman gives Casey some advice on how to protect herself from Jumby.
But does it help?
Even though this movie made me cry the first time round, I brought it on DVD when I found it for £4. My boyfriend and I recently watched it, and we both enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed it better than the first time as I knew what was coming! Even though I had seen it before, we were both too scared to turn the light off when we went to bed and struggled to sleep that night!
The movie did really freak me out, but as dead children scare me this was bound to happen!
I would recommend this movie, as it has a good storyline and a few good twists.
But, it wasn't. So let's leave it unseen. I made the mistake of watching it, and I'd strongly advise you to not make the same one. The Unborn is a horror film that was released in 2009, and was written and directed by David S. Goyer. The plot is as follows...
Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman) is a girl in her late teens, who suffers from nightmares and hallucinations. She is without a mother, whom she lost at a very young age when her mother hung herself after admitted to a mental hospital. As the story unfolds, we learn that she is a twin, but her twin brother was unborn, because her umbilical cord strangled him. She learns that a 'dybbuk' (a demon that attempts to possess humans as it has been barred from heaven, according to Jewish folklore) is haunting her family, and trying to gain way into the world by possessing people.
Sofi Kozma (Jane Alexander), Casey's grandmother who lives at the same hospital in which her mother died in, reveals to Casey the details surrounding the dybbuk, as she too had lost a twin brother, during the Holocaust. The dybbuk possessed her deceased brother, and upon killing her brother, the dybbuk lingered, haunting her family for generations to come. Sofi refers Casey to Rabbi Joseph Sendak, played by Gary Oldman, in hope that a Jewish exorcism can rid the family of the dybbuk.
A good plot? Well, it's arguable, but how the plot is portrayed into a motion picture is a different story altogether...
Odette Yustman's acting is awkward and unconvincing at best, and things just do not flow. The film opens with a scene in a winter setting (the pathetic fallacy is...well, pathetic). If I recall, we are never told where the film is actually set. The skyline shown on screen would suggest where it is set to some, but I couldn't place it. This opening scene turns out to be a dream, but the introductory scene and the following scene progress in such a way that we have no idea that it is a dream - it is only a few moments later when Casey is talking to her friend on the phone do we learn that it is in fact a dream. These two scenes establish a trend that we see throughout the film: scenes link very poorly together, and there is a significant lack of explanation.
And the structure of the film is very amateurish! Worth noting is that writer and director David S. Goyer has written many a film; 'Blade', 'Jumper', 'Batman Begins' and 'The Dark Knight' to name but a few, but it could be said that he is inexperienced in the area of direction, having only directed four films before The Unborn ('Blade: Trinity' being a film worth mentioning). And it shows. As I have already mentioned, the scenes link together badly. In fact, they hardly link at all. The opening twenty minutes or so is just one supposedly 'scary' scene after another. Although the storyline is gradually being syringed into our minds, the true breadth of the plot does not come into full view until after the half-way point (the film only being 1 hour 20 minutes in length, excluding credits). So, to a certain extent, these 'scary' scenes seem irrelevant at the time, and only towards the end of the film do we learn what they mean. To be fair, I admit that this is quite a stylistic feature of a horror film, but the way in which the scenes are laid out create a repetitive feel, and at times, you feel like you should have a break from it all.
Having said that, David S. Goyer did also write the story to the film, and it can be said that this film does have a half decent storyline. In fact, it has (had) the potential to be made into a great film. Yet acting and direction did not deliver, and we got left with this.
As well as the prolific David S. Goyer appearing in the credits, Michael Bay appears, as the producer of The Unborn. He is best known for his producing of the films 'Armageddon', 'Pearl Harbour' and 'The Transformers', but 'The Unborn', which did receive some awful reviews, will not be one to remember for him. I do not put the poor quality of this film down to Michael Bay, but it is worth mentioning his role in the creation of The Unborn.
Now onto the actors and actresses. Odette Yustman, who plays Casey, is not a big name at all - in fact, the biggest role she has played is main girl Beth in 'Cloverfield'. Her boyfriend in the film, Mark, is played by Cam Gigandet, who features in the first two films from the 'Twilight' series, and also in 'The O.C.'. Other actors/actresses include Meagan Good, Jane Alexander, Carla Gugino and James Remar (from Sex and the City). Generally, a low-key set of actors/actresses, casted by Juel Bestrop and Seth Yanklewitz. I bring attention to those in the casting crew because, creating a significant contrast, is the inclusion of actor Gary Oldman, who plays the Rabbi Joseph Sendak. He stands out like a saw thumb amongst the mess that is The Unborn; not because he gives a particularly fantastic performance (it is average, for Oldman), but because he is the only one who most would recognise. For those of you who don't know, Gary Oldman has featured in films such as the 'Harry Potter' series (3-7), 'Batman Begins' and 'The Dark Knight', and 'The Fifth Element'. It is likely that his appearance is due to David S.Goyer's power as writer and director.
The acting itself is a load of pants. As the protagonist, Odette Yustman could really have done with putting in a half decent performance, but she simply doesn't. The dramatic scenes are cringeworthy, and half of the time she looks like she's trying to...do a number 2? Do excuse the corny American phrase (which, hey, reflects the film!). Her best friend Romy, played by Meagan Good, is not good in any shape or form, and between them, they put in two ridiculously unconvincing performances. Casey's pretty-boy boyfriend Mark (played by Cam Gigandet) is just that. It only goes as far as his looks, because his acting has no emotion and his face expression doesn't seem to change. Casey's Grandmother, played by Jane Alexander, is a cringeworthy addition to the characters. Alexander herself is American, yet she puts a European accent on to fit to her character (I will explore this further later), and it sounds ridiculous (obviously because the accent isn't very good). Also, Atticus Shafer, who plays Matty, a boy that she babysits, is put in the role of typical little creepy horror-film kid, but, whether it is due to the fact that this film is already dire, or that he can't act, the role is played badly, and you just cringe. I think I actually shouted 'no!' at the screen at one point.
The relationship between Casey and Mark (who are meant to be boyfriend and girlfriend) is laughable. Firstly, we see them in a scene together near the beginning, and we can only guess as to whether or not they are a couple, as there is no sign. However, he goes with her to the opticians as she gets an odd eye pigmentation problem in one scene, and they leave in each other's arms and kiss. A sexual scene soon follows, and its significance is questionable at this point. It just seems so misplaced, like many of the scenes in the film. It's just another scene, like adding a carriage to the back of a very long (and torturous, I might add) train. Not only that, but he just seems to disappear for significantly long periods of the film. This is solely down to the director, but it just seems unrealistic. If your loved one was suffering from hallucinations and almost going crazy, wouldn't you want to be there for them?
Like I mentioned earlier, the full punch (if you can call it that) of the plot isn't revealed until around the half-way mark. So, already, I'm sitting there thinking 'jeez, this film is bad'. So I almost find it disrespectful when they bring the Holocaust into the mix (which is where Sofia's accent becomes important, however inaccurate it is). Casey's Grandmother Sofia, as previously mentioned, and was victim to the Holocaust - her and her twin brother. There is a certain scene, where Sofia tells Casey of the incident, and the viewers get to see a flashback of the scene back in the 1940s. The children are couped up, and are to be experimented on. The scientists syringe Sofia's brother's eye. Children die, and so does Sofia's brother, and now, the 'dybbuk' (which, may I remind you, is the demon that desires entry into the material world) possesses Sofia's brotherly, apparently bringing him back to life. Although we do not get to view the scene (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), Sofia tells Casey: she had to kill her brother, in the hope that the demon would die with him. Although the Holocaust is an important part of history, and the fact remains that it did happen, it almost seems disrespectful to have it as part of the plot of such a bad film.
I like my horror films to be atmospheric and evocative, and, being the (biased) musician that I am, I see the main method for this as the music. And I do listen out for the music, whatever the film. However, whilst watching The Unborn, I could only name one scene where the music is at least slightly poignant, and that's during a short interlude between two scenes, as the camera pans over a cityscape - and it lasts about ten seconds. I personally feel that not enough films use music as a key element. By this, I mean finding a composer, and getting them to write music for a large percentage of the film. I do like the odd compilation soundtrack, but I don't usually feel that they have the same effect (Martin Scorsese's films with Robbie Robertson excluded). And I liked how The Unborn used an original soundtrack, which was written by Ramin Djawadi, and has been released on CD. Yet I feel that it did not have the powerful effect that it could have had. From what I even noticed, it was very unoriginal and not very interesting. Disappointments pop up in what seems like every area.
I must admit that this film does pick up at parts - around the middle for a short period, and towards the end. But it's never by a large degree. Overall, the film is very poor indeed, and I'd strongly recommend that you do not buy it. I really fancied watching a horror, having not watched one in a very long time, but having bought this film, I will now take caution, checking online and writing reviews. So I hope that this review helps you to make the right decision.
Runtime: 88 min
Casey starts to have strange dreams and hallucinations about a young boy she thinks is called Jumpy, around the same time that other strange things start to happen - an insect comes crawling out of an egg, for example, and there are odd noises coming from her bathroom. Then she has an eye check up and her optometrist asks her if she was ever a twin. Asking her father, it turns out that she was indeed a twin, although her brother was never born, dying in the womb. Her brother was never properly named, simply referred to as Jumpy. Sadly, her mother was later to commit suicide following a serious period of depression. Looking through some photos, Casey finds a newspaper article about someone called Sofi Kozma, whose name apparently meant something to her mother. Tracking down Sofi, she goes to visit her and begins to piece together the reason for her hallucinations - she is being haunted by her twin brother. Can Sofi help her cope with the haunting? Or will her twin brother's obvious fury eventually kill her?
There seems to have been a spate of poor horror over the past couple of years - it would be good to watch something half-way decent for once. This 2009 film is a good example of poor horror; it is not low budget, it just takes a story that is actually quite intriguing and turns it into one that is much duller than it needed to be. The story really is quite promising. The idea of someone having a brother that she didn't even know about (mainly because he died in the womb), who then returns to haunt her, for reasons that appear to be linked with Nazi experimentation during the Second World War is fascinating - and for that director and writer, David S Goyer, deserves to be commended. The problem is that once this is revealed, the story takes a distinct nose-dive, and ends up falling so flat that it is hard to find the will to continue watching. Goyer is clearly a talented writer - he has written, or partially written, Flashforward and the Batman films, but perhaps he should stick to writing rather than directing.
Odette Yustman (Cloverfield) plays Casey and gives a reasonable performance. She has to look frightened out of her wits for most of the film and she manages to do it very well - at least, I believed that she was frightened. Had that terror managed to frighten me too, I would have been even more impressed, but that is largely down to the silly storyline rather than her acting. As far as male viewers are concerned, she looks great, which can't hurt the film's reception. However, Yustman was outclassed by the actress who plays Sofi Kozma, Jane Alexander. Although Alexander's screen time was very short, her presence was commanding and it's a shame she didn't have more of a role. Other secondary characters, most notably Casey's boyfriend and best friend, played by Cam Gigandet and Meagan Good, were just bland and, in the case of Gigandet, wooden.
Gary Oldman is an actor for whom I have a great deal of respect. I therefore found it odd to find him billed second in the cast list for his role as a Rabbi to whom Casey turns to for assistance - simply because his role is minimal and, when he is on screen, his performance is less than impressive. He doesn't do anything wrong as such, he just blends into the background. Perhaps this was intentional, but it does seem to be a massive waste of his talent. I was also interested to see Idris Elba (The Wire, Luther) as an exorcist. Again, though, the role peters out into nothing and just seems to be a waste of talent.
The special effects are very good. A scene where Casey is in the bathroom of a nightclub and she starts to see insects in a kind of yucky syrup concoction coming out of the sink and toilets is particuarly well done. Unfortunately, towards the end when the special effects should really come into their own, everything gets so out of hand that I just switched off and the quality of the special effects were irrelevant. The final scenes when Casey is fighting for her life really should have been the highlight of the film, but they sadly flopped quite badly, to the point that I didn't much care what happened to her. There is much more to a horror film than good special effects - in fact, sometimes less than perfect effects make the film that much more entertaining. Here they were almost too slick to make an impression.
One criticism I've read of this film is that it is a hotch potch of a variety of different horror films, to the extent that it almost doesn't have its own identity. That is more or less spot on. There is the haunting/exorcism element that is reminiscent of films such as The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Amityville Horror, etc. Then there is the evil child syndrome, that smacks of Rosemary's Baby and The Omen. And, of course, there's the skimpily-clad heroine (well, she is some of the time), who is trying to keep herself, and her friends, alive - that's an element that is seen time and time again in films of this genre. The Nazi experimentation element that is introduced half-way through the film did appear to be original, but it was buried amongst everything else that was thrown at us.
There is just one extra that comes with the DVD that I have - a collection of deleted scenes that, as always, were deleted because they weren't necessary.
I found this film ultimately disappointing. It did have its moments, but they just weren't long enough and neither did they go anywhere. This is a film that could have made more of an impression, but it is going to be buried amongst the pile of similarly bad horror films that have come out over the past few years. I'm increasingly finding myself going back in time to horror films of the seventies and eighties, which although full of terrible special effects, at least have a hint of originality and intrigue about them. Sadly, not recommended.
The DVD is available from play.com for £5.99.
Classification: 15 (swearing and frightening images)
Running time: 88 minutes
Movie: The Unborn
Film Duration: 87 minutes
Category: thriller / horror
Director: David S. Goyer
Country: United States
Rating: 16 years and older
Odette Yustman as Casey Beldon
Gary Oldman as Rabbi Sendak Joseph
Cam Gigandet as Mark Hardigan
Meagan Good as Romy
Jane Alexander as Sofi Kozma
The story is about Casey Beldon. Casey has always had strange dreams about a boy with blue eyes and strange dogs, but never figured out what it meant. One night she is babysitting the neighbours son Matty and their newborn baby. Suddenly she hears the voice of Matty talking to the baby, but it just sounds strange and decides to go look. When she gets there she sees Matty holding a mirror infront of the child. When Casey asked what he's doing, he comes to her and says: "Jumby Wants to be born now. The next day she talks about her friend Romy and she tells her about a superstition that a baby younger than one year are not supposed to see their image. A mirror is often seen as a passage from the underworld to the normal world. The next day the baby appears to have deceased. Casey is shocked, but does not want to believe what her boyfriend told her. But soon one of her eyes seem to change colour and she decides to go to the doctor who tells her that this is normal for twins. But she is an only child! She goes to her father and who finally confesses that she has a twin but her brother died before birth. She gets more and more the feeling that her unborn brother is wanting to come ack to real the world! Can she stop him?
Odette Yustman stars in this film as Casey Beldon. I only know Odette from the movie Cloverfield, but didn't really leave a good impression ehind. In this film she put down a great acting performance as Casey. In the film she's obvious afraid of the unknown and she is credible in the scenes where she is being chased. She plays her role properly and cannot really say anything negative about it. She plays the role not unusual good, but adequate for the film. Further performances are sufficient for the film and they keep the tension up. Gary Oldman plays the role of Rabbi Joseph Sendak and is certainly not unknown and plays in the Harry Potter movies as Sirius. Always nice to see people in other films.
The only extra on the DVD are deleted scenes that didn't make the film. So often as you can clearly see why these scenes didn't make the film and they don't really ad value of the movie or even to the DVD.
The Unborn fits very well in the list of predictable horror films. You already know what will happen. Still I watch these movie, because they often are fun to watch and the tension there is often going to be okay. This is also the case with this film. Even if you know what will happen, you still catch yourself watching with a good load tension and fear at times. The special effects are well done and make the action / horror moments believable. Shame about the extras, but I liked the movie enough. I recommend this movie to rent for a night, but I think buying is a little bit much.
== The Unborn ==
== Introduction ==
My brother came around the other day, and brought with him his Xbox which he has Sky Movies on, and he decided to show it off by putting a film on for us all to watch, after much deliberation between us all, he decided on The Unborn, a horror film. I had seen it advertised when it was out in the cinemas, and although it looked like a good film, I had never gotten around to watching it, living with my husband who works nights a lot of the time, I don't get a chance to watch horror films unless he is home, as I get too scared to be alone after them!!!!
So as he popped the film on, we all sat down with a drink (and me with a pillow to shove in front of my face at the first sign of anything scary!) to watch it.
The film is classed as a 15 rating, so must not be watched by anyone below 15, this classification comes because there are violence and horror scenes, but no nudity or language which is classed as "too bad".
The film stars relatively unknown actors: Odette Yustman, Jane Alexander, Gary Oldman, Cam Gigandet and Meagan Good, in the main parts.
The release date of this film was February 2009, and is not to be mistaken with the film of the same name released in 1993 which is not the original to this film.
== Plot ==
Casey Beldon is a young woman, she is in college and has a small group of friends and a loving boyfriend, her mother killed herself when she was only a young girl, and she is left with her father who works away a lot. Her life is pretty fancy until one night when babysitting, everything seems to be turned upside down, when she hears the young boy she is babysitting upstairs and goes up to find him whispering threatening things to his new born sister and showing her to herself in a piece of broken mirror. (According to the film, this is bad luck- children are not supposed to see themselves until they reach the age of one year, as it means they're going to die soon, I don't know if this is a "real" superstition or one made up for the film.)
After this everything goes weird, when Casey starts to see a strange little boy in her dreams, and in other places around her life. When she finds out that her mother killed herself because of the same thing, and when she found out she was a twin in the womb but the other baby died before it was born, she soon puts two and two together and goes about getting an exorcism. But could this be the right thing for her to do, and what has all of a sudden made this start to happen to her when she had no problems before?
== Opinion ==
Personally I wasn't all that impressed with the film. I have never been a fan of ghost stories, I prefer a horror story which is "real" (like Saw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Strangers), things which really do frighten you as you know it could really happen, I find anything sci-fi a bit boring and unrealistic. I hated The Exorcist, and The Village for the same reasons, I just find them too far fetched, and I get bored with them. I watched the new film Case 39 with friends a couple of weeks ago, and found it terribly boring. This film is jumpy in parts, and does have the whole what is going to happen next thing going on, but I find the plot line about a ghost coming back and haunting this girls life terribly unrealistic, and so I cannot get "scared" by it enough for it to be a good horror film for me.
For people who like sci-fi films, and have loved all the other ghostly type films (The Omen, The Others etc), I think they would love this film, the acting is great, the cast is well cast, and the storyline doesn't have plot holes, although it does finish on kind of a... "oh what happened there" thing. I am not criticising the film itself which compared to other films of the same genre, is great, but it is not what I was expecting it to be, I thought the storyline was going to go a complete different way, and until I watched it I didn't know it was an exorcism type film.
All in all, I am glad I watched it because from when it was advertised last year, I thought it looked good, and although I didn't enjoy the plot. The film was good, and I wish I could have been more "into" it, and given it a glowing review, but this film just wasn't for me.
To give it marks out of 10, I am going to compare it to other films like this, in acting quality, "jumpiness", and the special effects. And I am going to give it a 9 out of 10. I thought that this film had Megan Fox in the main part of Casey when I first saw it advertised, as the girl who plays her actually has a very close resemblance to her, maybe if it had had a bigger named cast it would be more popular, as I know many people watch a film because of its cast! The Special FX were great, and it is very jumpy, it had me squirming in my seat with a pillow over my face at times!!!
All in all, this film is great for people who like Sci-Fi horrors, for people like me who prefer gory horrors like Saw, this maybe is one to give a miss.
Just finished watching this even though I probably recorded it about 2 months ago. Am bad at trying to catch up on films, since I have so much "normal" tv to watch.
This was a typical horror film. I knew this anyway, but horror is one of my favourite genre's. Although hubby thinks horror is a load of rubbish, so I knew i'd have to settle down myself to watch this, as couldn't be bothered with his constant ramblings over the top of this!
From the start of this film it looked like it was going to be good. We see a girl jogging through the park, and although i'm sure i've seen films that start in the same similar kind of way, I thought this was going to be good. It only came out last year, so I wasn't worried that this would be full of old cheesy Horror movie things. Anyway she is still jogging through the park and she comes across a child's glove. She picks it up (in the park - surely it could have been covered in dog pee or that? Why do people pick up strange things?) When she picks it up we see a young boy child appear behind her. I would say he looks a bit pale and evil looking. She then sees a Bulldog, which she follows into the woods a bit. When she is in the woods she finds a jar with a foetus in it (honestly the things you find in the park!).
Oh, it was all a dream? Oh that's ok then. We are getting to the typical Horror movie script about dreams. What's next? People running up the stairs and into dead ends? Yes, we will cover that later as well!
The girl in question is called Casey. She is the main character in the film.
Casey babysits now and again for a family, and she's over at their house babysitting their baby girl and boy, who i'm guessing to be about 6 years old. She hears something upstairs and goes to find the boy shining a mirror on the baby's face. He keeps repeating "Jumby wants to be born now". She startles him and he lashes out at her. It is after this incident that Casey's friend tells her that babies aren't meant to see their reflection for the first year, as it is meant to kill them according to an old wives tail. It is when Casey is going past the people's house that she see's the ambulance and the baby getting taken away. The baby girl is dead!
We see that Casey seems to be freaking out quite a bit after that. Oddly enough we see her eye changing colour from brown to a bright blue colour. What could it mean? She also keeps seeing "Jumby wants to be orn now", and her mirror in her bathroom keeps shaking. She keeps seeing that boy that was in the park everywhere as well.
A bit of history about Casey. Her mum went a bit crazy and ended up getting locked away. Casey is worried that this is how her mum started, and she is beginning to think she is going crazy, which is a bit worrying for her.
Since she can't ask her mum for help, she ends up tracking down a long lost grandmother. The grandmother says that the issue with her eye changing colour only happens with twins, but that doesn't make sense as Casey is an only child - or is she? She goes to see her dad who said she was meant to be a twin, but her twin died in the womb, and casey was the only one to come out. She asked what sex it was, he said Male, she asked if they had picked a name out, and her dad said they were just calling him Jumby. Apparently this will keep happening with her eye, and since she is freaked out she goes to get some help from a rabbi to rid her of whatever is causing this.
The film is alright. It turns into some standard horror fare. This reminds me a bit of the Exorsist, as in the whole Church, men in the cloth, reading from an ancient book etc. The whole good versus evil and the battle for purity and so on. I found this whole bit boring and 1 that we've seen a few times.
I'm not going to spoil any more of the film, but the ending was ok, but it was just one of those ones that think they are being clever, but it's not that much. I guess you could go away thinking "Oh, so it's not the end", but again so many films have tried to leave us hanging.
It was ok. There was the scary Ghost boy, the bits that made you jump a bit, and also with the thing creeping up the stairs I was reminded of The Grudge.
Lasts about 86 minutes and perhaps worth a look if you like Horror films, but it's nothing that new.
The classic film opening - bit of music, bit of scenery from lots of angles, big shots of the city and then blamo we have Casey jogging along a bridge, one snowy morning in a park (twasn't really a 'blamo' moment tbh). She sees a glove lying on the path and being easily distracted she decides to pick it up. Behind her a sickly looking child stares at her wearing only one glove. She turns away and sees a bulldog wearing a plain white mask over its face and follows it into the woods where she finds a jar with a foetus inside.
This is all a dream she's had that she's describing to her friend over the phone as she baby-sits this creepy little boy and his sister. The boy gets out of bed in the night and when she goes looking for him, he's in his baby sister's room making her stare into a mirror, repeating over and over "Jumby wants to be born now." Casey disturbs him and it smacks her up (changes her pitch up).
Disturbed Casey is having lots of problems lately. She hallucinates weird things and her bathroom mirror seems to be vibrating all the time. She stares to black out in class and all she sees written everywhere is "Jumby wants to be born now". What's even stranger is that one of her eyes is also changing colour from brown to bright blue. The figure of the little boy in her dream occurs time and time again along with freaky masked dogs.
She thinks something is after her and is terrified she may be going crazy like her mother did. She starts to discover more about her own history and that of her mother. A long lost grandmother who escaped Auswitz knows more than she's letting on, it turns out her eye condition only occurs in twins and yet she doesn't have a twin and there's more to her mother's madness than she knows of. She enlists the help of the Book of Mirrors a Cabbalist Jewish text and a Jewish rabbi (Gary Oldman) to try and relieve her of this torture.
***What I thought***
Not long ago I watched a reviewed Cloverfield in which I commented on the attractiveness of Odette Yustman who starred in it. Well whilst reading about Cloverfield I noticed that she was also in this film or "The film with the ass poster" as I termed it from the time I first saw the posters, so I searched about and yup I'd already bought it in my obsessive compulsive way and here we are.
And you know what? Despite all the heavy criticism of this film, the aggregate score of 12% on Rotten Tomatoes and the fact that it seemed to solely publicise itself on the basis of the lead actress having a fine ass, I thought this film was actually good. Surprisingly so. I expected to dislike, hell, I almost wanted to dislike it but nope I thought it was well worth the watch.
Why? Well first of all this film from the outset in the dream sequence had some dark, disturbing and original imagery that was fresh and scary. The masked dogs freaked me out. That was weird. There's a dog with an upside down head in here and some old dude's body contorts in all directions at one point. Okay, there were quite a few scenes were all we saw were flashes of the wee ghost kid that are quite clichéd for horror films but the dogs and foetuses etc. were original and were scary. I have to say I jumped more than once and I think to an extent this film delivers on the horror front and not many modern horror films do unless it's gore and to be honest I don't find gore scary.
Second major advantage is the Jewish context was fresh. It's almost like every horror film with demons and ghosts is being funded by the Catholic Church because it's always a priest to the rescue. Which of those donation envelopes that you get to give in chapel are for the Hollywood propaganda collection? The green ones? I don't mean to criticise Catholicism, I want to keep my review short but you get sick of it over and over again in films. Gary Oldman was probably not the best choice for a rabbi though. I don't think I've ever knowingly met a Jew in my life, but I wouldn't picture one as Gary Oldman. They shoulda went with a stereotype. Also it has to be said he didn't act brilliantly either.
The Jewish thing also led back to Auswitz and weird Nazi Occultism and I've said it time and time again that Nazis are scary and there's potential for a really scary horror film with Nazis. This wasn't it but it had an interesting idea for a story, that drew from the Nazi's experiments.
Sadly this film isn't all up, up, up. It has its drawbacks. The story is predictable and clichéd and the finale was disappointing. Although the imagery and concept is unique, it's executed in the same old way. Flashes of the scary ghost child from a distance and in nightmares. The wise old person who lives in a home, who's very friendly at first but who turns nasty when she finds out what they've come to talk about only to call them back later and tell them everything is such a cliché it's horrible and should never be allowed in a film again.
Odette Yustman is very hot and she sold more than a few cinema tickets based on that ass poster but she's not a great actress. She just fops about and is a bit pathetic. She believes she killed her twin brother in the womb and gets very upset about it and it just seems so fake. She's basically exploited for her attractiveness and needs to learn how to act a bit better.
As for Gary Oldman, how disappointing. He's one of the reasons why I bought this DVD as I believe him to be a tremendous actor and one of my all time favourites but he was seriously bad in this film. I know I say I liked this film but Gary Oldman lowered himself for this role and shouldn't have wasted his time. He doesn't look or act like a rabbi and he doesn't look or act like he really cares for the role to be honest. It's like he himself has decided to spare a bit of time as himself to be in the film. He's not going to act though, just read the script as he is. Casey also has this boyfriend in the film who was such a bad actor I'm not going to bother to name drop. Why did he always look angry?
Idris Elba of The Wire and Rocknrolla also has a role in this film as an Episcopalian minister. He's alright. Nothing fantastic.
The little scary kid who Casey is babysitting has a really weird shaped head, as does Casey in the flashback to when she's a little girl. I know this guy with such a shaped head. Heads.
The film is written and directed by David S. Goyer who also wrote for the last two big Batman films but also the horrendous Jumper and just as his writing career as its troughs and peaks so does the story for this film but directing wise he done a solid job. Some of the scary scenes were nicely put together and Casey's disturbing episode in the bathroom was brilliant.
Also produced by Michael Bay. Does that make you care? Didn't make me care.
The reason you're having weird dreams may be either:
a) you're being haunted by a Jewish Demon; or
b) "you've got a diseased vagina" - the possibility given by Romy, Casey's friend
Gary Oldman has a big stupid horn in this film.
Apparently it's bad luck for a baby to see its reflection before it's one year old.
The doctor asks her "Are you familiar with the term genetic moniasism (or something?)" Who the hell would be?
When Casey asks the old woman why all this stuff is happening to her now and not years ago the old woman gives some unsatisfactory answer I can't remember but let's face it the real answer is because you look good now and if the story had you any younger all those promo posters with you in front of the mirror woulda just been creepy.
Films with stories like this always revolve around excessively rich people which annoys me. It would not only be more realistic and have a wider appeal if it was more down to earth but it would give it a little more originality.
Casey stops to pick up a glove, in her dream and real life. How clean must her city be that the sight of a glove on the ground is so mind boggling that she has to pick it up and look at it?
My cheek was sticky whilst watching this film. I think it was honey.
***Who I'd punch***
Gary Oldman, to make him get his ass back into gear and in real films.
Despite its tainted acting and its occasional slips into clichés this is not a bad modern horror film to watch this Hallowe'en. It has some original and very haunting imagery that really impressed me and it will make you jump. It has a freshness to it in that despite a few clichés it runs a different track to every other horror film. The ending disappoints though and though I recommend it to some extent don't get you hopes up too much.
Written by Phelim McC. Don't steal it, or I will violate you
I'm a big fan of horror films but normally i prefer serial killer films rather than ghost like films but this was worth watching as i was intrigued by the storyline as well as the jumpy bits!!
The basic storyline:
A girl (Casey) begins to be haunted by a small boy (I'm guessing about 7-8 years old)in nightmares and in reality. She sees him in mirrors, in the street and generally where she is. She confides in her best friend who is unsure whether this is really happing. The pigmentation in her eyes then start to change colour so she goes to a doctor about it who tells her this most commonly happens in twins. She returns to tell her dad who explains in the womb she was a twin but he died during birth. Casey decides it must be her twin haunting her so when she decided to look through her mums things (who died when Casey was young) she finds a newspaper article about a women named Sofi Kozma who was experiencing the same as Casey and a photo which is of a women and in the background a small child.
Casey hunts this women down and gradually finds out her and Casey's mother had been going through the same problem. The problem is a spirit is trying to enter the world by taking over her body and mind. It gets stronger from fear . Later she finds out the boy is Sofi's twin who had died in the holocaust. Sofi tells Casey she is in great danger and need to have an exorcism as its the only way to stop the spirit. As the spirit gets stronger it takes over her people close to Casey who sometimes die. During the exorcism it takes over her boyfriend but the exorcism takes over and it disappears. The ending is very cliché but i don't want to spoil it......
The graphics in most parts is very good but there are parts that make you laugh rather then hide which i did find disappointing. I don't think it's a film I would watch again or if there was a squeal im not sure I would go out of my way to watch it. Most would say the film is similar to any other horror film but i did enjoy it.
The cast are pretty much unknown but were pretty good at what they were doing.
Its rated a 15 and is about an hour and a half long.
Good horrors are hard to come by now!
The Unborn - the story?
A young girl discovers she was once a twin in her mothers womb following having weird dreams about a young boy. The baby who was to be her brother was absorbed and died whilst her mother was pregnant. Now years down the line, Caseys unborn brother has been possessed by a demon known is a dyybuk and is quickly ruining Caseys life and hurting those she is closest too. The story reverts back to during the war in Auschwitz where experiments were carried out on twins and Caseys great uncle became affected by this demon. Casey approaches a Rabbi in the hope he can rid her of this demon.
Odette Yustman plays Casey
Gary Oldman - Rabbi
Would i recommend this film?
I went to see this film in the cinema in March 2009 with 2 female friends from college and i had my hands over my eyes for most of it! It had me on the edge of my seat with shocking twists and plots and didnt fail to provide an excellent yet freaky cinematic experience. I have since bought this on dvd to watch with my partner..i then have someone to grip onto!
I would highly recommend this horror to all except those who are pregnant or of course have twins..please trust me on this one!
I'm gonna probably be attacked for this but this is one of the funniest films I saw last year. I know it's not meant to be but it's just one of those things. There have not been maybe really scary films for a good twenty years as most take a cast of teens who want to make it big in Hollywood and exploit their youth, often using the sex appeal of bad but good looking actresses. This is one of those films and it almost parodies itself. Not completely lacking a decent storyline, this film is set around a woman who is being haunted by a demonic force in the shape of a little boy. It's somewhat confusing why at first but the extent to which the jump factor is used in this film, I find hillariious. Add to that bad CGI, actors who are typical for this type of movie and throw subtlety completely out of the window and the highly unscary film that this is becomes entertaining in a completely different way than desired. I found that this, although not a good film when taking filmaking into account, a gret movie for a laugh and a few jumps. I would reccommend it for anyone who has friends that find anything scary and want a good laugh. Definatley not a wasted cinema ticket and look out for the Masked Dog. Definately worth the purchase.
Film only review
Lovefilm sent me a couple of horror films this time off my rental list and whilst they are still fresh in my mind I thought I'd write a couple of reviews about them.
The Unborn was the first film I watched and I can see from other reviews on here that it hasn't been received all that well. Having watched it I can safely say I agree with what has been written and the only positive thing I can say is that at least I didn't buy the film.
The convoluted plot follows a hot young woman - Casey who has started to dream about a sinister looking boy, he haunts her in her dreams and for no apparent reason also in her bathroom cabinet mirror. Her mother committed suicide many years ago and strange things are happening to Casey, a neighbours young boy tells her that "Jumby wants to be born" and following a series of convenient conversations with other people it transpires that Casey was supposed to be a twin but her brother had died in their mother's womb. Following a conversation with her father it is revealed that her parents had nicknames for the babies before they were born and guess what? Yep, her brothers' nickname was Jumby. Didn't see that one coming did we?
Casey starts to see the boy all over the place and it is evident that he is an evil spirit wanting to become real. People die, dogs with upside down heads growl a bit and Gary Oldman plays a Jewish Rabbi who performs an exorcism with 9 of his friends as 10 is the magic number, apparently.
This film is dire, the storyline is incomprehensible, no reasons for the appearance of Jumby are offered and the ending is one big cliché. The acting is atrocious, even Gary Oldman who is normally superb in any part he plays seems to be acting by numbers in this and from start to finish it in one big yawn-fest. The only redeeming quality about this film is that there are some good special effects and the actor playing the young boy does look scary.
Makeup and good effects do not make for a good film though and despite a few unsettling scenes which are effective the film was pointless and full of plot holes. I've mentioned that the ending was clichéd but also it just did not make sense, I can't comment about it too much as otherwise I'll be spoiling it for anyone who wants to watch the film but believe me, it just does not add up.
I can't recommend this film to anybody and am struggling to find any redeeming qualities in it whatsoever, rent something else there are plenty of other films that deal with similar themes and are far better than this drivel. The Unborn is only going to get a 1/5 Dooyoo star rating for me; it's an absolutely awful film that does not make sense and provides no satisfaction at all. Avoid at all costs.
The Unborn is not the sort of film that I would normally watch but it was at a friends house so I didn't really have much choice about watching it! It wasn't really what I expected.
Casey Beldon is the main character and she is being plagued by a dybuk thats haunting her, and trying to take her body. She is having strange dreams that involve dogs and evil children with bright blue eyes, as well as having terrifying visions every time she is alone. The spirit turns out to have much significance than just the simple haunting that she first thought though, Casey finds out that she was originally a twin but her twin died in the womb. Now its haunting her, so it can be the one that was born. Time repeats itself...
Although I haven't seen many horror films, this seemed like quite a good plot. Overall the film had quite a bit of suspense and tension, you never really knew what would happen next and there were a few jumpy moments but not many. I also liked the historical bits that were tied into the plot throughout the film and the flashbacks which made the film seem a bit more realistic. There were also twists which kept my interest, though I wont reveal any here incase you want to watch it! However, it does get rather confusing at times and a lot of questions crop up as to why they have done certain things since sometimes there are plot holes that dont seem to make any sense, why some things happen when they did I dont know!
The acting wasn't anything special but it wasn't bad either. The cast list is as follows ¬- Odette Yustman as Casey Beldon, Gary Oldman as Rabbi Joseph Sendak, Cam Gigandet as Mark Hardigan, Meagan Good as Romy ,Jane Alexander as Sofi Kozma. They wont win any Oscars but they did a good job, Odette Yustman played the part of the victim very really and looked genuinely scared and upset! She is in her underwear a lot of the time though! There isnt actually much character development in this film though, all we basically know about the main character is that she is being haunted!
The special effects in the film were very good, which helped with the overall horror/scary effect, and there were some very weird special effects because of the demon such as a god with an upside down head! In parts it was quite fast paced and scary, but all of these bits seemed to be at once and the rest of the film wasn't that scary which was a good thing for me! In some parts it seemed like they were building up to a really scary part, but then nothing really happened.
The rating is a 15, which is reasonable in my opinion as I don't think it would be too scary for the average 15 year old and over. There was a bit of language and sex references also which helped put the rating up.
I'm not sure if I would recommend this film or not, but it was quite good for what we wanted which was a scary film that wasn't too scary and therefore good for everyone.