The Unborn

It’s a sure sign that a movie is a dud when its best moments consist of a couple of shots of the curvaceous star in her skimpy undies, yet that’s pretty much the highlight of David Goyer’s The Unborn, a stillborn horror movie if ever there was one.

Megan Fox lookalike Odette Yustman plays Casey Beldon, a girl haunted by a dybbuk, an entity known in the Jewish Kabbala as a spirit trapped between this world and the next, which desperately seeks to return to the living realm.

Goyer, whose screenwriting credits include The Dark Knight, two installments in the Blade franchise, and the upcoming X-Men Origins: Magneto (which he is also directing), draws on such horror icons as The Exorcist and The Omen in this story which contains a number of interesting elements but never manages to coalesce into a compelling (or frightening) whole. Unsettling nightmarish imagery harkening to the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch are wasted in repeated dream sequences or by culminating with a cheap “boo” scare in Goyer’s quest to infuse the movie with a fright factor he was unable to elicit from the narrative itself.

Among the movie’s many inexplicabilities is the decision to cast Gary Oldman and James Remar, both venerable actors, in cookie-cutter roles that could have been filled by pretty much anybody. In fact, Remar’s character completely vanishes from the story after an early couple of scenes, making it pretty obvious that the two were chosen as much for their marquee value as their desperation for a paycheque.

Realistically The Unborn is a title that should have been issued direct to DVD. The fact that it wasn’t, and the studio opted to go ahead and foist it upon paying theatre goers, is the true horror here.

Craig McPherson

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