Year Released: 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 87 minutes
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There is a typical cliché amongst film criticism that is used to describe a writer or director’s career all too often. It’s something you’ve heard (or read) a thousand times before. But for someone whose writing credit has been attached to a few greats (“The Dark Knight,” “Dark City”), some plain ole’ goods (“Blade,” “Batman Begins”) and some downright awful films (“Blade Trinity”), how can it not be said again? David S. Goyer is definitely a name that is hit or miss when it comes to cinema. His newest film is “The Unborn” – where he is credited as both writer and director – and it’s no doubt his worst effort yet.
This is the sort of film that fails on every single aspect it aims for. The scares are cheap and predictable, the plot is beyond laughable, and just about every single other thing about this movie is almost too indescribable for words. If only Goyer strived to make a comedy, perhaps all wouldn’t have been wasted.
It all starts in 1944 – Auschwitz to be exact – where a crazy SS doctor (no doubt inspired by real life Nazi Josef Mengele – AKA “Angel of Death”) performs bizarre experiments/research on various twins. This mad scientist attempts to come up with ways to change brown eyes blue, using twins as his basis to inject their eyes with various chemicals. During such an experiment, a male child dies but unexpectedly comes back to life a couple of days later. Only he is no longer himself. So his sister kills him and lives long enough to escape Auschwitz. However, that isn’t the sort of incident that is going to go away so easily.
Back in modern times, Casey (Odette Yustman) is your typical college girl babysitting for extra dollars. Her current gig proves to be a link to her past, however, when the 4-year-old smacks her in the face with a mirror while mumbling something about someone being ready to be born. She learns that this “someone” was meant to be her twin only he died in the womb by way of umbilical cord strangulation.
So it is clear that Goyer’s script has a set direction only it takes too many wrong turns to get there. For example, we learn early in the film that this unborn child’s soul has the ability to possess other human beings. It haunts Casey at every turn having no problem sliding into the bodies of her and Rabbi (Gary Oldman), best friend Romy (Meagan Good), and boyfriend Mark (Cam Gigandet). When it takes hold of these folks, it tries to strangle and kill her, yet the film stresses how much it needs her. So why is it trying to kill her? Or send dogs with upside-down heads barking her way?
My mind was exhausted at this questioning before it was even halfway over with. It’s clear this picture is only designed scare the teenage audience it is aimed at. Only these jumpy moments are too ridiculous (and often hilarious) to succeed in doing so. Aside from the fact that you can feel them coming minutes before they happen, they are way too nonsensical to tense you.
The January season of bad cinema is upon us and we’re off to a pretty awesome start. This is one film that shouldn’t have been birthed. No, in fact, it should have been aborted.
Posted on January 13, 2009 in Reviews by Michael Ferraro
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