Newest Review: ... which aren't all that good anyway. The acting is tolerable, although nothing worth writing home about, but what struck me harder tha... more
From behind the cradle, and beyond the grave- how not to make a scary movie.
The Unborn (DVD)
Member Name: Larachristina
The Unborn (DVD)
Advantages: Gary Oldman, some scary moments. Clever use of dogs and gymnastic OAP's.
Disadvantages: Plot, acting, dialogue.
The trailer was so horrifying, terrifying and disturbing, that I ended up sat in my best friends lap, my head nested into her shoulder.
Considering I had such a dramatic reaction to the trailer, I knew I would have to watch the film when it was released, regardless of what it would do to my blood pressure, and my poor best friends lap.
Last night, we bit the bullet. Me, Sam and Bridget.
Sam and I were clever. We decided that there was strength in numbers, and arranged for her to sleep over at my house, so that if we were traumatised after the film, we would not have to make the journeys home separately and alone, and so that if we were attacked by ghosts in the night, we would have a better defense as a pair.
Unfortunately, poor Bridget was to travel home alone, but I shall get to that later.
Armed with our food, drinks, and comfy cardies (to hide underneath), we made our way into the cinema (which i might add was three quarters empty) an sat down to watch what we expected to be an utter exercise in terror.
Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman) is an only child, a normal student, with normal friends and a normal life. She likes running, and babysitting, and snogging her boyfriend, and everything is grand.
That is, until, she begins to have weird dreams, about a small boy, a nasty looking foetus, and a British bulldog wearing a lady mask.
Anyone else would blame the dreams on too much cheese, but Casey is troubled by them.
Things get stranger, when babysitting the neighbours children. She finds their little boy, standing over the baby, holding a mirror to its face. When Casey questions what he is doing, he smacks her, and tells her that *Jumby wants to be born now*.
When a friend notices a strange mark in her eye the next day, Casey goes to the eye doctor, who reveals that Casey's weird eye thing only occurs in Twins.
From then on, Casey's life turns upside down, as she faces demons from her Mothers past.
What did I think?
Well, overall, I think this could have been a bloody good film. All the components were there. The plot, in essence, was a good one. It was just handled terribly. There were unanswered questions all over the place, and the plot flew from one place to the next, with no consideration for continuity or common sense.
Certain things completely confused me. Like why the weird mark in Casey's eye automatically meant she must be a twin. It was never properly explained, so whilst there might be a plausible medical reason, it just seemed like an easy time saving plot device.
The idea of Casey's twin is something that is never fully realised, and never delved into enough. We end up confused over whether its casey's twin who is the malevolent spirit or not, and whether he actually has a part to play in the film or not. In the end, it just seemed as if the film makers had a formula, and decided dead twin = scary.
We never learn anything in depth about the characters. We know that Casey goes to school, or college, but it is never determined why she is here, what she is doing, or what she wants to be.
We know she has a boyfriend, but we never see much of their relationship, or learn how they got together.
The relationship between Casey and her father is also left pretty vague, as is the relationship between Casey and her best friend.
The acting, on the whole, was appalling at best, diabolical at worst.
Odette Yustman (casey) is a pretty girl, and her bottom looks nice in knickers (which is all she wore for quite a lot of the film), but beyond that there wasn't much to say.
Her character is whiny, defeatist, vulnerable and fragile. She doesn't seem to want to help herself very much and utterly relies on everyone around her to solve problems that only she herself can solve.
She doesn't seem like a particularly likable or interesting person, and its impossible to imagine her having any kind of personality to speak of.
She spends the entirety of the film looking scared, despondent, lonely, tearful or resigned.
I personally prefer my horror heroines to have a bit of fight in them, but Casey, to me, completely lacked any fighting spirit, and a a result, i didn't really think she deserved anything but being terrorised by an evil spirit.
Casey's best friend Romy (played by Meagan Good) is slightly more interesting, but only because her character is utterly obnoxious. Her dialogue is trite and cliched and her acting is overcooked. There is no best friend like chemistry between the two characters whatsoever, and whilst neither character has much personality to speak of, they certainly don't seem to have anything in common.
Cam Gigandet plays Casey's boyfriend, Mark Hardigan, and he is a slight improvement from the girls. His character again is very dull, very lifeless with little to no back story, but he does show a little backbone, and a couple of scenes showcase moments of vulnerability, which make him quite likable.
I also quite liked him because he was in the film "Twilight", but that's another story.
The only saving grace to the entire cast, and the biggest question mark, is Gary Oldman. Firstly, why the bejesus he signed up for this film is beyond me, although I am rather glad he did. Although his performance is nothing to rave about, its a damned sight more convincing than that of any of the rest of the cast, and his portrayal of Rabbi Sendak is interesting and believable.
On the other hand, the motivations of his character are almost laughable, and he pops up in the strangest place, never having the airtime he deserves.
The scares were frequent, and spine tingling, however, even these fell short. The trailer had obviously condensed all of the films scariest moments into two minutes, which really packed a punch. unfortunately, a handful of scares in a one and a half hour movie, is not enough to keep the tension up.
Sometimes, a scare would pop along, i would jump a little, wait for worse, but the be disappointed as the scene changed. It was perhaps a clever technique used to lull the audience into a false sense of security, but it didn't work. It was generally just a lull. and a long lull at that.
The ending has a small twist, but a rather predictable and unexplained one, that probably leaves an opening for a sequel. There is no resolve, no explanation, and no climax.
Like i said, "The Unborn" could have been good. If the plot and script has been tighter, simpler, and less convoluted and trite, with maddening forays into Nazi Germany, and strange "The Ring"-esque video footage, then the story would have been satisfying.
With a better script, then i think the actors could have done a decent job (I blame the writing, not their talents). Had the film had a better, more suspenseful soundtrack, and a better sense of timing as far as scares and surprises went, then it could have been very very scary.
As it was, it was more silly than anything else.The idiocy of some of the lines, and some of the actions of the characters left me rolling my eyes and laughing, rather than hiding behind my fail safe cardie, scared half to death.
In the end, the trailer for "The unborn" packed a greater punch than the actual film did, which is actually very sad.
As a result, i was left completely unaffected, and drove home happily discussing the various monsters, special effects techniques, and how annoying the main character was.
I must point out though, poor Bridget, my friend who had to drive home alone, was utterly traumatised, and drove home in a state of terror. Obviously having a chum to drive home with numbs you to the films fright factor.
This might scare younger people than I, or people who are generally a bit jumpy, but if you are a horror movie veteran, this is unlikely to make you do anything other than laugh. There are some nifty tricks in this film, like the upside down headed dog, and the crab walking OAP (very original uncut Exorcist ), but beyond that, its not worth watching.
Bits and Bobs.
Film cert- 18.
Director -David S Goyer.
Writer- David S Goyer.
This isn't available on DVD yet, but you can still go see it at the cinema.
If you fancy visiting the website, go here.
Summary: A rather lacklustre horror film, with a handful of scary moments.