Thursday, August 13, 2009

Unborn, The - 2.5/5

Dammit dammit dammit. As much as I have been enjoying Platinum Dunes' horror remakes ("Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Friday The 13th") I was really hoping this one would actually stand on its own as a film. I mean, Goyer writes and directs, the production is slick as shit, and Gary 'fucking' Oldman has a role in this: this had potential! Unfortunately, it rarely lives up to that potential.

Storywise, I don't know a whole lot about Jewish demons and/or wandering spirits that want to invade our world but it was an angle that I was willing to go with and for the most part it does work. It allows some pretty cool and creepy imagery to seep into the story (things with upside down faces? AWESOME) but it's explanation and eventual climax in the film's exorcism scene seems over explained and at the same time, far too ambiguous for me. They go to long lengths to explain how 'Barto' is coming but leave out extensively explaining the why. I would have been happier if both elements were only hinted at rather than explaining one and leaving the other dry. Not to mention the 'twist' at the very end was pretty obvious throughout the film I thought. Maybe I just thought they made it far too obvious.

As far as acting goes, main lady (girl...whatever) Yustman does a decent job carrying the film but her later performances tended to drag on a bit. More or less she is the damsel in distress for the film and I was hoping for her to come out and become this strong person by the end but she ends up just running for her life and never 'really' fighting back (I don't count stealing a book from the library as a trait of being tough). Gary Oldman only shows up half way through and although his character is given jack shit for depth he still ended up stealing the show. I was disappointed how they treated the 'basketball coach/exorcist' character in the film and how he is written off by the end. I wanted to see this guy and Oldman team up and kick some possessing ghost ass! But alas it does not happen.

Goyer as both a writer and director has some good moments but overly fall prey to the rather poorly developed script. He makes the creepy imagery work like a charm and he does what he can with actors, but his dialogue and flow to the film is rather flawed. Interesting ideas are developed but never fully fleshed out. His hit or miss work on "The Unborn" was perhaps my biggest complaint of the film.

What this film wanted to be was a modern day "Exorcist", but lacked the great character work and focus of said film. "The Unborn" had some great potential behind it but never came to fruition. Recommended to horror fans mostly for the creepy scenes and somewhat fun ideas. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider 

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