The Unborn

Director    David S Goyer
Starring    Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman, Idris Elba, Meagan Good, Carla Gugino
Release    9 JAN (US) 27 FEB (UK)    Certificate 15
1 stars


28th February 2009

Can we get a moratorium on horror films featuring scary children? Pale-faced kids are ten-a-penny and ceased being scary around about the time The Grudge started to get old (that's about eight years ago for anyone still counting). The Unborn is the latest chiller to put faith in a pint-sized spook, but it's a film so desperately short on ideas that the studio has stooped to featuring Odette Yustman's perfectly-formed bum on the poster. Fitting, as the movie itself is total arse.

Stop me if you've heard this one before. Girl starts seeing things. Girl goes to faux-mystic who reveals a demonic presence in her life. Demon tries everything to enter our world through 'doorways'. Audiences yawn. Take the plot from every horror movie you've seen in the last few years, eat them, poo them into a blender and hit 'frappe'. That's The Unborn. A big turd smoothie.

This is a film completely bereft of merit: it's genuinely and completely dreadful in almost every respect. The plot, considering it's coming from The Dark Knight writer David S. Goyer, is almost insultingly familiar. The acting is uniformly terrible, Yustman trumping even Jessica Alba in the 'pretty but vacuous' stakes but Meagan Good taking the spoils as the dumb fuck best friend who's always convenient whenever exposition needs to be soaked up. Goyer's direction is static and uninspired, leaning heavily on musty old genre crutches like mirror shots and LOUD NOISES.

It's not too much to ask for a horror movie to be even a little bit scary, right? The Unborn strays dangerously close to parody in an attempt to create fresh terror; dogs with masks on, dogs with upside down heads, old men with upside down heads and the aforementioned 'scary' kid, called - get this - Barto, who even makes an appearance on the dance floor in a nightclub. It's actually closer to a horror spoof than an actual bona fide genre movie: you'll laugh more than you'll jump.

What really gets the hackles up is the unused talent on board. Goyer is hardly an auteur but he can surely do better. He's managed to wrangle Gary Oldman, playing a sanctimonious Rabbi, but gives him little to do other than read dusty books and frown. Carla Gugino, so sexy in Sin City and brilliant in Watchmen, is in perhaps two scenes and has maybe one line. A little Batman goes a long way, obviously.

The Unborn is waste in every regard. Waste in that the cast and crew are all slumming and don't care who knows it; waste in that it's 87 minutes of your life that you'll never get back; waste in that buying a ticket is essentially paying for something you've already seen and waste in that it's an hour and a half of cinematic effluence, slowly being pumped into your eyehole U-bend. Unoriginal, unbelievable, utterly unwatchable. Still, nice arse.

More:  Horror  Monsters  Stinkers
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