Monday, January 27, 2014

Film Review: The Unborn Child (2011)

The Unborn Child (Review)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...there is a disappointing lack of horror..."

Trai (Somchai Kemglad), Phim (Pitchanart Sakakorn), and their daughter, Yaimai, begin to experience a haunting when Yaimai brings a toy home from a temple...

The Unborn Child also follows a young teenage couple who unexpectedly get pregnant and hire an illegal abortionist to help, and a young woman who is pregnant -- this third subplot is very obscure throughout most of the film. So, all three groups begin to experience hauntings seemingly from children ghosts. There really isn't much to discuss on the plot. The final act briefly gets lost in itself with some bizarre, out-of-place scenes. However, the ending does delivers some satisfying, albeit dark, closure.

The Unborn Child is a film with a familiar yet interesting concept, and an unfortunate lack of scares. The predictable plot could've been excusable if it had a bit more content and horror. Instead, the film feels like it's dragging its feet to an inevitably predictable ending. Okay, there are some frights to be had. A couple of loud jump-scares and creepy visuals are spread throughout, like a scene with a bloody, crying ghost, but not enough to justify the already short runtime. There is some suspense, too, but it is very light and underused. I would be lying if I said I wasn't entertained, but I would also be lying if I said I was petrified.

Also, the film makes its intentions clear at the end where it almost turns into a PSA -- well, almost clear. In a sense, this is an anti-abortion film as it clearly states that the film is dedicated to the dead babies and it hopes there won't be anymore. At the same time, it may be an anti-illegal abortion film since it drops statistics about the issue and its relevancy to Thailand. It even states it's part of a campaign to raise awareness. (obviously all of the above is not verbatim, but that's what it's stating.) Regardless, The Unborn Child never really preaches, at least not until the final 2 or so minutes, I just felt I should let you know if you're against this type of stuff in films.

The acting is good, nothing spectacular but far from bad. If it adds any weight, Pitchanart Sakakorn is stupendously gorgeous to look at. The cinematography is good, a couple of scenes feel cluttered, though. The music is great, I really enjoyed the soundtrack. I purchased and viewed the Hong Kong Region A Blu-ray; the picture and audio quality are great, the English subs are more than adequate. Poj Arnon directs The Unborn Child with only competent skills, never really striving to master his direction; he doesn't seem to build suspense well, and there are problems in storytelling and consistency.

Overall, The Unborn Child is a serviceable horror film. It's just barely decent, but entertaining, nonetheless. The story is interesting, despite being generic, there are some good jump-scares and eerie visuals, and Pitchanart Sakakorn... well, she's just beautiful! (the movie's not really getting points for her beauty, though.) However, there is a disappointing lack of horror in this film, and some story and storytelling elements are sloppy.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood, including abortions and dead fetuses.

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