Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Poor Meagan Good. It’s almost a year ago to the day that I schlepped myself off to the theater during a brutal Michigan winter to open 2008 to watch the completely uninspiring freaky kid horror flick ‘One Missed Call’. Meagan Good snuffed out before the opening credits even rolled. Now we open 2009, again snuggling up next to Meagan who makes an appearance in yet another freaky kid horror flick from David S. Goyer, who the advertisements repeatedly points out was co-writer to ‘The Dark Knight’, with ‘The Unborn’. Now we could assume that the lovely Ms. Good will experience a different fate from the one she experienced in ‘One Missed Call’… as the audience falls on the floor bursting out in uncontrollable laughter as if that were remotely possible. It could happen you know!

Pretty, young, tall and thin Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman) is jogging down the street when some freaky stuff starts happening to her. We know right away it’s a dream and another thing we kind of know about dreams is that you normally don’t do stuff in a dream you wouldn’t do in reality, unless of course you knew it was a dream. So I probably wouldn’t follow the freaky dead kid (Ethan Cutkosky) who has just turned into a eyeless dog into the woods. Regardless this is just the start of Casey’s problems, who is baby sitting the neighbor kids as she is having the weird dream. She then consults with Romy (Ms. Good) about the dream, considering that Romy is her Best Friend Forever – with Forever being a relative term. Then the kid she is baby sitting (Atticus Schaffer) socks her in the face with a mirror. Not cool.

Casey’s visions start to pick up at a rapid pace with her seeing images of this freaky dead kid just about everywhere, causing her to trip out on a daily basis. Her boyfriend Mark (Cam Giganet) is concerned, but not so concerned that he doesn’t withhold tapping that on the regular, which is kind of central to plot. Casey’s father (James Remar) is also concerned and drops a bomb on Casey that she was a twin with her brother dying in vitro, and then he goes out of town and isn’t seen for the rest of the movie. Way to have baby girls back, Dad.

More weirdness occurs which connects Casey to an old woman in a nursing home (Jane Alexander) who had tried to help Casey’s dead Mom (Carla Gugino), and is now trying to help Casey purge this demon that’s cursing the family. Unfortunately this situation is out of the old girl’s wheelhouse so she shunts Casey to a Rabbi (Gary Oldman) who has doubts about the validity of Casey’s claims until he’s attacked by a dog with an upside down head. He then consults a Minister (Idris Elba) who decides that’s it’s exorcism time which, as it turns out, could’ve have very well been the worst idea ever. And why is all of this horrible stuff happening? I got two words for you people… Freaking Nazis! I kid you not.

After watching the Goyer directed ‘Blade 3’ and ‘The Invisible’ it’s looking like the homie from Ann Arbor might finally be figuring out this whole directing thing. Kind of. The good thing about ‘The Unborn’ is that it does possess some of the freakiest, most disturbing imagery that you’re probably ever gonna see in a PG-13 movie and a lot of those images, combined with the somber cinematography and mood music were effectively frightening for most part.

Now to be honest with you that’s about it for the good stuff, though the imagery and atmosphere are very good. The rest of the movie is a cavalcade of complete and utter nonsense. Goyer, who also wrote this thing just as he co-wrote ‘The Dark Knight’ in case you didn’t know, wastes no time in attempting to scare us with the problem with that being that absolutely no time was taken to build up any kind of real tension or meaning behind all of these scares we were hoping to experience. In between this the movie attempts to try to explain things to us, but running at a scant 80 minutes in length it doesn’t spend too much time. Eventually the old woman character tells our young hottie essentially ‘don’t even try to understand why the demon does what it does’ and I think she was really speaking to the audience to keep us from trying to figure out what in the hell was going on. I just wanted to know why this creature kept messing with Casey. At first we’re told because it can only come into the world through Casey, but then it started possessing every freaking body thus completely eliminating the need for Casey and eventually it just wanted to kill her I guess. Freaking Nazis.

Another curious thing about ‘The Unborn’ is that it sure has a lot of quality acting talent who do absolutely next to nothing. Carla Gugino might have one line and 90 seconds of screen time in this movie, Gary Oldman has about 8 lines and three minutes of screen time, James Remar shows up for the sole reason to tell Casey that she was twin and then completely disappears and Idris Elba shows up for another two minutes to fill the dead Black Character void left after Meagan Good buys it. Or maybe she doesn’t, you never know… no spoilers coming out of my mouth. The filmmakers could’ve gotten anybody to do these glorified cameos and saved themselves some money. We do get a healthy dose of Odette Yustman who is as we have observed is tall thin and pretty, wears a lot of underwear that seems a couple of sizes to small, which is saying something since the girl looks like she weighs about forty pounds, and she screams a lot. Most of the time right on cue.

The unfortunate thing about ‘The Unborn’ is that it actually had some potential. The atmosphere was tight, the acting talent was there, the horror effects were really good, the final girl was cute and spunky (but not a virgin!) and Meagan Good was on board, and we are noticing that the young woman is making quite a decent living being the Black person destined to die in these horror flicks – that is if she dies. But about the time we brought in the Nazi’s all was pretty much lost. Too bad.

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