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UNBORN, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Casey Bell (Odette Yustman) hates her mother for having left her as a child. But when inexplicable things start to happen, Casey begins to understand why she left. Plagued by merciless dreams and a tortured ghost that haunts her waking hours, she must turn to the only spiritual advisor, Sendak (Gary Oldman), who can make it stop. With Sendak's help, Casey uncovers the source of a family curse dating back to Nazi Germany - a creature with the ability to inhabit anyone or anything that is getting stronger with each possession. With the curse unleashed, her only chance at survival is to shut a doorway from beyond our world that has been pried open by someone who was never born.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Odette Yustman, indeed all the cast, deserve a better fate than to be sucked into this misguided attempt at horror, in which the only shocks are manufactured on the assembly line of genre and so transparent that only the novice consumers of cinematic horror are taken in. Yustman plays Casey, a young woman whose mother died in a mental asylum when she was young. Flashback. She is now haunted by a horrid little boy who seems to be the incarnation of a Jewish demon spirit who ... but never mind. It hardly makes sense anyway. Especially when the plot tries to pin the evil on twins in the womb ....

Casey must know she is in a horror movie because when as a baby sitter she hears what she imagines is her 4 year old charge moving about upstairs, she doesn't skip up the steps as any babysitter might; she moves in horror movie mode, agonisingly slowly. This infects all the characters: when Gary Oldman's Jewish spiritualist Sendak is interrupted at his desk by the lights all going off, he would be expected to check the fuse box. But, knowing he, too, is in a horror movie, he walks agonisingly slowly into the adjacent hall of the synagogue, where to experience some strange happenings.

When Casey asks why this is happening to her only now, her grandma (Jane Alexander) explains that it takes these demons some time to come over from the other side. But she had just told Casey about the little boy in the concentration camp who returned possessed after only a short time. Later, after following grandma's instructions to break the mirrors at home, burn and bury the shreds, she is visited by her best friend Romy (Meagan Good), who asks what happened to the mirrors. As the camera pans back to Casey, there is the mirror above the mantelpiece that Casey had smashed in an earlier scene, in a rather unbelievable frenzy.

Some potentially creepy moments involving the little boy, or an old man with a revolving head who goes doggy-walk to attack Casey, and occasional freaky heads appearing out of nowhere are all spoilt by the film's careless, lazy approach to genre making. The one scene that deserves praise is the exorcism, which harnesses all the usual suspect elements (wind, demonic screeching, flying objects, possession of characters) and makes it a bravado sequence.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

UNBORN, THE (M)
(US, 2009)

CAST: Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman, Meagan Good, Cam Gigandet, Idris Elba, Jane Alexander, Atticus Shaffer, James Remar, Carla Gugino, C. S. Lee

PRODUCER: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller

DIRECTOR: David S. Goyer

SCRIPT: David S. Goyer

CINEMATOGRAPHER: James Hawkinson

EDITOR: Jeff Betancourt

MUSIC: Ramin Djawadi

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Craig Jackson

RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 26, 2009







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