The Unborn Review Review
Written by: Psyko113
I really can't stand PG-13 horror films. They just aren't good. They don't have that leverage that their "older" siblings do. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule, but they are few and very far between.
The Others was an amazing film for it's time, and the suspense still holds true today. The Ring was refreshing when it came out, before the J-Horror boom kicked in full. And The Grudge and it's sequel were both a nice touch, if only because they were re-envisioned by the very man who created the originals. But then we also get stuck with such horrid examples of work like They, and it all starts to fall apart. I'll admit, though, bad as it is in some respects, Darkness Falls is a guilty pleasure of mine.
That being said...I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality of "The Unborn." The film is an original story, written and directed by David S. Goyer (famed for his works on the Blade films and series *shudder*, as well as the relaunch of the Batman films), and produced by Michael Bay. I'll admit, upon seeing the trailers and articles and such about the film, Bay's involvement led me to question whether or not this was a film I wanted to see. Sure, he did right by the retelling of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (mostly because it allowed Daniel Pearl to return as DP and apply tried and true techniques to the film he didn't possess when shooting the original), but that led to it's prequel, and now a retelling of Friday The 13th.
The story of The Unborn follows a young woman named Casey (played by Odette Yustman, most famous for her role in Cloverfield) seemingly stalked by the ghost of a child. What unfolds is a very well played build in suspense, leading it's way to an interesting development that makes all too much sense. But in an appropriate way.
While in some aspects, the story seems a bit biased, it is also approached with a good sense of intelligence to the aspect of "exorcism" and "possession" and "haunting." Especially when it rings true to someone who's studied folklore/mythology, occult, demonology or parapsychology.
There are some smaller roles that could have been presented better, though. Casey's best friend, Romy (played by Meagan Good), is a prime example of this, as well as her boyfriend Mark (played by Cam Gigandet, currently of Twilight fame). Even worse is the role of Casey's father, played by James Remar. His role in the film is all too brief. However, one supporting character whose short-lived role is rather fitting is that of Rabbi Sendak, portrayed by the one and only Gary Oldman.
Special effects in the film are done well, particularly the mechanical effects, as well as some of the more physical make-up pieces. A couple of the digital shots are rather...short of great. But there are also some very subtle effects that the audience won't notice at first, if at all. So it's a good balance of the two, and also, these effects are used very sparingly, instead focusing on getting the story out first. That's very refreshing.
The scares, however, do come as somewhat predictable, and they are cliched tactics that the film is perhaps forced to use due to it's rating. But that isn't to say that they don't deliver. The film is more about the build-up of suspense rather than jump-scares every 10-minutes. It's quality that this film is after, and considering what it has to offer, it falls into the first category of the PG-13 horror films I mentioned.
Could it be better? Of course. Couldn't all movies? But it's great for what it is. Don't expect something that's going to alter your perception, or make you think differently about life, or have a profound impact on you. That's not this movie. No, this is a good ol' fashioned ride, one that you sit back and enjoy.