Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Unborn (**)

The Unborn. 88 mins. PG-13. Written and directed by David Goyer. Starring Odette Yustman, Meagan Good, Cam Gigandet, and Gary Oldman.

The Unborn is just another disappointing example of how a clever trailer can take all the money shots from a movie, edit them together in rapid fire fashion, and dupe the viewer into thinking they're in for something cool. The PG-13 rating should have been a warning sign. Despite its impressive pedigree (writer-director Goyer co-wrote Batman Begins) and polished production, The Unborn is nothing more than utterly mediocre. The scares crib from every recent horror film that's come before: ghosts in mirrors; slow, behind-the-back tracking shots backed by ominous music; freaky kids that shriek out of nowhere; CGI fetuses with eyes; and Gary Oldman as a rabbi exorcist. Okay, maybe we haven't seen that last one before. Though there are a handful of boo! scares, nothing in the movie is really all that unsettling or creepy. Goyer reaches for depth by including a Holocaust backstory to the proceedings, but it feels a tad exploitative and out of place in a movie like this. Cloverfield's Odette Yustman plays the lead, but as beautiful as she may be, she's awfully forgettable when handed such a cardboard role as this. The Unborn is unintentionally funny in some places, and though it runs a scant 88 minutes, it feels a lot longer. The poster promises an "IT" that wants to be born "NOW," but you won't find that same urgency in the movie. Hurry up evil devil spirit, and get born already!



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