I recently sat through 87 minutes of boredom and confusion watching the recent horror film “The Unborn.”
The following paragraphs may contain spoilers, but if you haven’t yet seen the movie, I strongly urge you to read this instead. The film has an eerie feel to it, the cinematography and effects are probably the only good thing about the film. Aside from lead character Casey, played by Odette Yustman (ABC’s October Road) and Gary Oldman (“The Dark Knight,” “Harry Potter”) as a rabbi, it’s a no-name cast, the performances are all flat and the dialogue seems forced, which places much of the blame on the writers.
The biggest issue I take with the film is the plot and character development. Despite shaky dialogue and a lead actress struggling to perform, a film can still be worth seeing if its plot and message are concrete. This, however, is not the case with “The Unborn.”
The movie trailer leads viewers to believe the characters are being haunted by an unborn child, which sounds ridiculous in the first place, but for some reason I saw it anyway. After the first scene where she is running and chases a creepy child and a dog wearing a white mask into the forest (which is creepy and hilarious at the same time), it pans out that there is some sort of child haunting Casey. She finds the white mask worn by the dog half-buried in the ground, and when she pulls it out it is attached to a jar containing a rather large fetus suspended in liquid.
It appears this unborn child is somehow haunting Casey for the majority of the film. The child she babysits in the movie is somehow caused to act possessed and frightening, and the performance of the creepy neighbor boy is one of the scariest aspects of the film. I’m not sure what it is about children in scary movies often being the most frightening.
The plot unfolds as Casey continues to see things and has several dreams about her mom, who killed herself a few years earlier. Casey’s eye starts to turn blue and she goes to a doctor, where it is revealed that she might have a twin. Come to find out she does, only it died in the womb (surprise surprise). But the plot does not stop twisting there. She rummages through her mother’s things in the basement and finds a photo and an article about a Holocaust survivor who lives in a nursing home in town. Casey decides to seek her out.
It turns out the old woman knows what is happening to Casey. An interesting back story unravels — entirely too late in the film — involving experimentation on twins at Auschwitz during the Holocaust. We learn the origin of how the child that is haunting Casey became possessed. It’s not until this point that Casey learns the creepy child is simply possessed by a demon, and now the demon wants to possess Casey. The old woman reveals some methods to fight it off and Casey seeks out a rabbi (Oldman) to perform an exorcism on her. The plot only accelerates into some action during the exorcism scene, when the demon is suddenly able to possess anyone it pleases. Some more ridiculous things happen and the movie ends on an easily predictable and lame note. I won’t proceed to reveal the film in its entirety. If after reading this review you are still interested in seeing the film, then more power to you.