Friday, August 5, 2016

Film Review: The Unborn (2009)

Unborn (Review)
United States/2009
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It has some interesting scenes, some of the visuals are horrifying, but it ultimately falls flat."

Casey Beldon (Odette Annable) is haunted by a dybbuk, an entity seeking to enter the human realm...

The Unborn starts off running. The plot doesn't take time to actually develop its characters or set a scene. Instead, it hurls you into a nightmare sequence, then it hits you with scare-after-scare. It feels abrupt, like if I missed a crucial chapter of the movie. Anyway, it eventually irons itself out. Casey is haunted by a nightmare, then she begins to see a boy with bright blue eyes, then her eyes start to change... You get the gist. It's a fairly basic horror plot, but I did enjoy some of its unique aspects. I don't think I've ever watched a horror film with a dybbuk, so that caught my attention. It takes a few tumbles towards the end, though. The final 'twist' was also underwhelming. Like the beginning, the finale felt abrupt.

There isn't much to say about The Unborn. It has some unique elements, like the dybbuk lore, but it is just another 2000's horror film. The characters are surprisingly generic and hollow, even for the era. The story is decent, but it doesn't take many risks. In terms of horror, there were some visuals that I enjoyed. Yes, it does often rely on computer effects, but I actually enjoyed them. (I'm more of a practical effects guy, but the computer effects weren't excessive here.) Aside from some of the visuals, most of the film relies on jump-scares. Unfortunately, with very little suspense, the jump-scares tend to fall flat throughout the film.

Odette Annable was okay as the leading lady. She didn't leave much of an impression due to a lack of conviction in her performance. She tumbled during most of the emotional scenes, too. Despite their limited screen time, Gary Oldman and Idris Elba were great. The cinematography was decent and the music matched the mood of the film. Nothing really stood out on the technical side. I think David S. Goyer is a talented writer, but horror and direction are not his forte. Or, perhaps there were some production troubles. The story has interesting ideas, but the lack of character, the poor introduction, and the mediocre ending make this feel like a first draft. There are some great horror visuals, but the reliance on jump scares and the lack of suspense are incredibly disappointing.

Overall, The Unborn is a mediocre film. It has some interesting scenes, some of the visuals are horrifying, but it ultimately falls flat. It doesn't leave an impression due to its lack of effective horror. I'd recommend a stream if you're curious, but, if you don't have much free time, I'd forget about it if I were you.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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