(2009) dir. David S. Goyer
As I was sitting in the theater watching the trailers before Public Enemies (2009), one of the trailers was for a movie (as yet to open this coming weekend called Orphan (2009) which not only looks pretty bad, but also suffers from the trailer showing the entirety of the story problem. Unsubtle at the least. And I even said aloud, “That looks terrible, but I will probably watch it on DVD when it comes out.”
I have a thing for horror films. That thing isn’t even pure enjoyment. I think I actually prefer bad science fiction to bad horror, but I don’t mind watching certain kinds of genre films knowing that I have little expectations of them. I joke often that “it keeps me honest” to watch bad movies, but I don’t know, that neither sums it up nor fully captures the nuances of the whys and wherefors. And I don’t even think I need to analyze why. I knew that I had The Unborn at home waiting for me.
The Unborn it turns out, is a really lame horror film. The film is a sort of twist on the Rosemary’s Baby (1968) scenario. Instead of having the spawn of Satan in your uterus, he was actually your twin brother in the womb, you just managed to strangle him with your umbilical cord so he became “the unborn”. I guess I’m giving away a lot of the plot here, but no matter. This movie is just plain crap. The spawn is not of Satan, but a Dybbuk, the most interesting little piece of this highly uninteresting film. A dybbuk is the spirit of a dead person who tries to return to the living by taking over someone’s body, emanating from Jewish mythology.
But the characters are non-entities, boringly sketched, not even stock. And the imagery of dogs with upside down heads and evil-looking little boys in period wardrobe is all that director David S. Goyer has to throw at the audience. While not a long film, the story is handled so abruptly that there is a great assumption that anyone should care about what happens to any of the characters in the film. It’s just quick-edit endings to scenes with little explanation as to why it’s supposed to be significant.
Goyer had directed The Invisible (2007), which while no masterpiece of genre film, was surprisingly interesting. The Unborn is the utter opposite. It’s not as bad as say an Uwe Boll film, but it never rises to any level of interest either. And with its PG-13 target audience, this declawed, edgeless film lacks anything to recommend it. And what Gary Oldman is doing slumming in this film, all I can say is, “Fire your agent, now!”