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The Unborn (Review)

The Unborn (Review)

...and it should have stayed that way
Mar 11, 2009
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The Unborn (Review), reviewed by Anders Wotzke on 2009-03-11T00:01:39+00:00 rating 1.0 out of5

Some films dare to be different; they take an original and compelling narrative that engages the audience with the use strong characterisations, ultimately providing a genuinely engrossing cinematic experience.

The Unborn is not that film. Not even close.

In fact, director and writer David S. Goyer’s latest horror film is more like the binary opposite of such a film. Hugely reliant on genre clichés to provide cheap scares, The Unborn tells of a nonsensical story about a women being haunted by a dead foetus.  As if Hitler’s reputation wasn’t already on the rocks, the film even goes as far as to blame it all on the Holocaust. That’s right folks; Nazi’s are the ones responsible for miscarriages and the evil spirits they unleash. Those bastards…

Cloverfield’s Odette Yudsman stars as Casey, a university student who suddenly starts to have reoccurring dreams featuring a creepy young boy and dead foetuses. Before long, the dreams start to become a reality; Casey’s young neighbour Barto (Ethan Cutkosky) starts to stalk her, warning her that “he wants to be born”.  With the help of her best friend Romy (Meagan Good), Casey desperately looks for answers and a way to get rid of the evil spirits that haunt her.

2009 the unborn 0081 265x176 custom The Unborn (Review)

If it all sounds a little ridiculous, that’s probably because it is. Goyer’s convoluted script isn’t able to convincingly frighten anyone as the corny dialogue and predictably placed frights masks any attempt to establish an eerie atmosphere.  The cast is just as misguided as the plot; Yudsman’s character, who conveniently is  frequently haunted when she is in her underwear, grows tedious with each teary breakdown and even the ever reliable Gary Oldman gives a one dimensional performance as Casey’s Rabbi Exorcist.

Most frustratingly, the film unashamedly rips-off a platter of past horror films; the scare tactics of The Grudge, The Shining and most blatantly The Exorcist are heavily recycled to lesser effect.  In fact, the film is so full of genre rehashes it almost comes across as a parody of the horror genre in the same vein as the Scary Movie series, if not unintentionally more humorous than the tired franchise.

If I had to dig for a positive, it’s somewhat refreshing to find that The Unborn doesn’t resort to using excessive gore, probably to do with the limiting M rating more than anything else. Yet without there being a single scare in sight that doesn’t solely rely on a loudening soundtrack, the film tends to argue the common viewpoint that modern horror only succeeds in being frightening if the number of dismembered limbs is equal to the films running time.  I guess that depends on if you call looking away in disgust “frightening”. Ultimately, it all goes to show how Hollywood horror is currently stuck in a rut and has been for a long time. If anything, The Unborn serves as an example of just how deep that rut is.


Unoriginal, unconvincing and not in the least bit frightening – The Unborn should have been aborted well before conception.

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