Unborn, The (UK - BD)
Marcus watches the latest generic supernatural horror to hit Blu-ray disc
[/i]The Unborn[/i] tells the supernatural story of Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman), a young woman who starts having nightmares about dogs with masks on, creepy kids with one glove and foetus’ buried in the ground. Delving a little deeper into what these visions might mean Casey discovers that she was actually a twin, but unfortunately her brother had died before birth. Now Casey faces the question, is it possible to be haunted by someone who was never even born (cue the rolling of eyes)?
The Unborn is one of the most generic and bland supernatural horrors I’ve seen in a while. Its story is un-engaging, its characters forgettable and its events forced and mind numbingly clichéd. As we follow Casey through the unravelling of events, I began to wonder when I’d start giving a crap about what was going on.
Yustman does nothing to warm you to her character (besides the obvious looking bloody good in tight jeans or a skimpy pair of white pants), the strange occurrences have no real impact (even if the Hancock kid is one creepy little dude) and the forced and frankly tired explanations about what the hell if going on are basically just tick boxes to get in as many horror plots as the movie can muster. Creepy pale faced kid? Check. Crazy mother? Check. Creepy mirrors? Check. Creepy old lady with a story to tell? Check. Experiments on kids? Check. Exorcisms? Check. The list goes on, but while we’re on exorcisms, I may as well throw up the question…what is Gary Oldman doing in this movie?
When Oldman turns up as Rabbi Sendak, a glimmer of hope swept across me. Oldman wouldn’t be here unless there was something good to do in the second half… right? He wouldn’t just take a paycheque movie unless there was something to it…right? Well even this lucky bit of casting doesn’t bring anything to The Unborn. The second half just plays out with the same ol’ flaccid results. The scares still plod along the same pattern of a bit of slow motion, a big shock image, some drifting creepy music and then a jump into the next scene. The exorcism is about as teen friendly as they come (bar a broken back or two), and it’s all over in a flash before ending up with a closing epilogue which could be considered a twist, if it wasn’t for the fact it was obvious from about twenty minutes into the movie that it would end up like this.
Well one thing The Unborn does well is look pretty great. This HD transfer is crisp, clean and almost grain free. The texture of clothing and skin are captured really well (maybe a little too well for Yustmans facial blemishes) and the cold blues and grey’s of the exterior scenes look pretty much perfect with the snowy backdrop to the town looking pretty amazing, especially with some of the helicopter aerial shots.
Interiors also fair well, even if some of the lighting is a little too unnatural in places and other that the general design of the movie being a little bland The Unborn provides a solid transfer which in many ways makes it all a little too glossy to take the movie seriously.
Yet another horror movie providing exactly what you’d expect from a horror movie and not faring from the norm at all. Lots of quiet, lots of airy atmospherics and then, boom, everything comes to shrieking life for the scares and then just as quickly drift back to being quiet again.
The score sits well in the mix but is merely incidental as opposed to anything memorable or effective and generally the rear speakers are only used for the extra creepy noises with the majority of the audio sitting snugly in the front speakers with the well presented dialogue.
Well after all the usual and sort of overblown Universal menus, with the twisting logos and the side menu bar all we get is deleted scenes (06:37 HD), all of which add little to the overall movie and are just extensions. Beyond that there’s nothing, unless you count the option to flick between the Theatrical cut (01:27:00) and the Unrated cut (01:28:00). Wow, a whole extra minute!
The movie’s transfer is impressive, the audio is pretty standard for the genre and the features are all but nonexistent, so there’s not really much to praise with the The Unborn]. For me, The Unborn has a very small precise window in which it might be enjoyed—late one Friday night when you happen across it on TV and you’re drifting in and out of sleep. Then, and only then, might this be considered effective. Any other time, The Unborn is just cookie cutter generic supernatural horror and if like me you were tempted to give it a shot because of the two good trailer moments of the head twisting old man and Yustman in a white vest and tiny pants, you may want to prepare yourselves for a letdown because neither are used well enough for this to be considered a good movie.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 22nd June 2009
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD MasterAudio 5.1 English, DTS-HD MasterAudio 5.1 Spanish, DTS-HD MasterAudio 5.1 French, DTS-HD MasterAudio 5.1 Dutch
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Dutch
Extras: Deleted Scenes, Unrated Cut
Easter Egg: No
Director: David S. Goyer
Cast: Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman, Carla Gugino
Length: 87 minutes
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