The Unborn
Stop worrying about demon possession and come back to bed, honey.

Theatrical Release Date: 01/09/2009
Director: David S. Goyer
Cast: Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman, Cam Gigandet, Meagan Good, Atticus Shaffer, Jane Alexander, Carla Gugino, James Remar, Idris Elba

“The Unborn” wasn’t all that great.

I just thought I might as well toss that out in the beginning.

In case you are still curious, “The Unborn” is about Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman), a seemingly normal young woman that starts to have very strange dreams. Following a bizarre run-in with a child she babysits, her eye begins to change colors. After a visit to the doctor, she starts to unravel all sorts of mysteries in her life, including the fact that she was a twin, the secret behind her dead mother’s (Carla Gugino) death, and the identity of her long-lost grandmother (Jane Alexander). Soon she unearths the truth about all of the disturbing events in her life, and with the help of her grandmother, best friend (Meagan Good), and boyfriend (Cam Gigandet), she attempts to get rid of the malevolent presence that is haunting her.

I should start with the good. There are a few scary moments in the film, and they maintain a creepy atmosphere throughout. The movie begins with a truly off-putting sequence – a good start. Most of the acting wasn’t great, but it’s hard to find fault with Gary Oldman and Idris Elba as an old priest and a young priest; I mean, as the rabbi and priest that try to help Casey. Alexander also does a good job.

Now for the problems. Beyond the aforementioned mediocre acting, there were some serious problems with the pacing. At first it was interesting; while you wondered what was behind all of these unnerving events, you were at least a bit vested in the film. But once they started to explain it all, it got way too convoluted. All of a sudden there are Nazis, and concentration camps, dybbuks and possessions, crazy people and twin conspiracies… and then I stopped caring. The pace slowed down, you got your sense of equilibrium, and what started out as unsettling morphed into a mess of formulaic mythology and special-effect-gotcha-moments.

Don’t even get me started on the “twist” ending, which was totally foreshadowed by unresolved plot contrivances earlier in the film.

So basically, this film wasn’t nearly as scary as it should have and could have been. It didn’t even make a whole lot of sense. But, while totally formulaic, at least it wasn’t a direct rip-off and bastardization of someone else’s perfectly good source material. And it wasn’t entirely without disturbing moments, even if most of them came early in the film.

So, since I’m a push-over, I’ll give it a 3 out of 5. Of course, you’re probably better off sitting at home, watching a good horror movie in your darkened living room.