A newly married couple discovers disturbing, ghostly images in photographs they develop after a tragic accident. Fearing the manifestations may be connected, they investigate and learn that some mysteries are better left unsolved.
While babysitting a boy and his baby brother, Casey Beldon has a dreadful nightmare involving a weird dog and an evil child, and she tells her best friend Romy over the phone. Casey is haunted by this boy, and when she goes to the ophthalmologist, he asks if she has a twin brother or sister. She asks her father and discovers that her mother lost a son that died in the womb. Casey suspects that she is haunted by the spirit of her brother. She finds a letter addressed to a woman called Sofi Kozma and a creepy picture at home that belonged to her mother. She goes with Romy to a retirement home to meet Sofi, a survivor of the experiments during the Holocaust. But Sofi tells Casey that she had never met her mother and later calls Casey to tell her she is in great danger.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A diabolical train-wreck of derivative horror movie absurdities.
We get them every year now; so much so that it would probably feel a little odd, maybe even a little perplexing to the most avid of cinema goers not to be treated to the cinematic trite that is the generic Hollywood horror. And yet, despite the frequency and predictability to which such movies subscribe themselves to upon release during the lowest peaks of the year—they never seem to loose their impact. Of course, I must iterate that by using the term "impact" that I by no means indorse the idea that movies such as The Unborn manage to strike up any sort of reaction sans mind-numbingly potent boredom. No, instead the form of "impact" that The Unborn manages to achieve is one that is recycled year in, year out with such ventures in the clichéd and banal world of the modern cash-cow horror. It's the impact of "Wait, this is it? This is what I paid £8 to see? Wasn't this released in 2003?"—If your average Hollywood Horror is horror by the numbers then this is a severe case of number crunching gone mad on the part of those involved.
It's somewhat ironic then that such feature should be so confusingly named The Unborn. As if the notion of an unborn idea or concept could be so potent within the mind of film-maker big-shot David S. Goyer, the entirety of what happens to be one of his few ventures into directing makes clear why he should stick to producing and writing. From beginning to long overdue end, The Unborn is an uncouth, contorted mess of genre clichés, underdeveloped ideas, paper-thin characters and scares that manage to become even more tiresome than the regurgitated protagonists that they inflict themselves upon. From the creepy looking children pulling out the Ominous Stare of Death on empty roads to the wise, prophetic old coot who obviously took too much LSD in the sixties talking in riddles and spiritual mumbo jumbo-isms, Goyer's script here serves not as a testament to how horror should be done, but the exact antithesis. Of course, there are certain highlights to the feature which are infrequent and nevertheless rendered obsolete by the brain-dead mediocrity that surrounds them, but even the cliché of the pretty brunette panicking in her skimpy underwear doesn't offer much hope. What then, do you have? Well, nothing really.
Aside from the odd visual effect here and there that at least doesn't look terrible by contrast, and a few cameo performances that help bring the feature up a small notch; the majority of The Unborn is a dreary mix of mundane plotting and direction with lifeless portrayals by B-grade thespians who are as disconnected from the project as you could possibly be. For the most part, the story follows our protagonist as she seeks to reveal the scientific fact of why she has starting having horrific visions featuring a pale-skinned boy who keeps going on about someone wanting to be born. From here the feature tries to rationalise the irrational; throwing in some superstitious mysticism as concrete explanation and tossing it around as some sort of "aha!" logical slice of catharsis. Of course, with every horror feature, one must accept that certain leaps of faith must be made in order to indulge in the experience—yet with The Unborn, such a leap would mean to abandon faith entirely and subscribe to sheer lunacy; so how does an endless plummeting freefall sound, and would you pay for it? Again, this wouldn't be so detrimental if indeed Goyer had portrayed the events depicted here as anything but a contrived mess of over-indulgence existing only to challenge the viewer's perceptions of reality; but this isn't the case.
Instead what Goyer achieves here is a diabolical train-wreck of derivative horror movie absurdities infused with an uninspired sense of misdirection and humourless drivel. With every release of such a nature, there are of course the proponent objectors who will argue that the horror film is nothing to be taken seriously. And yet, I must ask; if I cannot be moved, scared, compelled, or even amused by a movie akin to the ninety minute catastrophe that is The Unborn, then what exactly is the point in watching at all? Indeed, if there are any advocators of Goyers' work here, I make no qualms at questioning their sanity, attention span or affliction for cinematic sadism. And yet, I honestly feel like David summed up the problem with his feature rather ironically through one of his own characters' words that I will use here to send off The Unborn back into the confines of the memory waste-basket.
"I can't say I truly believe in what's afflicting you, but I think you believe." - A review by Jamie Robert Ward (http://www.invocus.net)
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