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The Unborn (DVD)
The Unborn (DVD)
Member Name: m_illie
The Unborn (DVD)
Advantages: Good soundtrack, interesting concept
Disadvantages: Boring at times, didn't do the concept justice
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.
Summary: An ok film but not one I'd bother rewatching