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"The Unborn"

Directed by David S. Goyer.
Written by David S. Goyer.
Starring Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman, Meagan Good and Idris Elba.
Release Year:  2009
Review Date:  1/8/09


2009 picks up right where 2008 left off...with a film that has a great trailer, pedigree, some promise, and a near-complete-dogshit final product.

"The Unborn" had me when I first saw the trailer a few months ago.  Some spooky images, a script and direction by the guy that co-wrote "The Dark Knight" and the "Blade" films, my man Gary Oldman and the promise of R-rated horror.

Then, I learned the film was actually a PG-13 (whoops).  Then, I saw that the writer/director, David S. Goyer, actually helped bring "Death Warrant" to the screen and he also directed the worst of the "Blade" flicks, "Blade: Trinity."  Then I had the chance to catch a free showing of this film tonight, and it was pretty friggin' terrible, right down to an ending so bad the entire row of four women in front of me yelled at the screen when the lights came up.


Odette Yustman (actually fairly hot for her bulky, somewhat ugly name) stars as Casey, a woman who is having some bad dreams.  How bad?  Well, in them, dogs wear masks, little boys look like their skin is falling off and maggots, termites and what appear to be monster-sized tarantulas bleed out of tile floors.  Casey takes this, plus the fact that her left eye is two colors, and gathers enough information to learn that not only is she a twin (her mom hung herself in a mental hospital over this, partially), but that this twin really wants to be born now, and will find a way into this world whether Casey likes it or not.  Seeking help, she finds a rabbi (Oldman) who helps get an exorcism set up to get that freakin' demon outta there!

I'll give the film this--it is short, and it does have a couple of pretty cool/spooky images that appear first in Casey's dreams before crossing over.  And, both Yustman and co-star Meagan Good are pretty hot, even if they are not working their way towards Oscar-caliber careers.  From there, the film goes right into the shitter.  The film's scares are so-so, but if you've seen the film's trailer, then you are really out of luck, because most of said scares are locked into the trailer.  The movie is 75% Yustman, and sadly, she is not convincing/can't act...and, throughout, you will keep thinking that Megan Fox was the first choice for this film, but we ended up with Yustman.  Both of them can't act, but Fox would have drawn oodles more cash to the film's final gross.

Then, there's the story, which revolves around how this Unborn thing is apparently something that happens to each generation in this family...blah.  There are hilariously bad unexplainable moments, like when Casey discovers a film that apparently shows Mom walking around an empty asylum before she kills herself...or, when Casey is running from the Unborn thing and needs to finish reading a passage from a book that has just been scattered into hundreds of pages on a floor and--on the run--picks up the exact one page she needs to finish the exorcism.  Then, there's a token, no-good cameo by Idris Elba (Stringer Bell, "The Wire"), and a token, no-good cameo by Carla Gugino, who apparently was just hangin' around on the set one day and wanted to do a day's worth of work in this shitfest.

Then, there's that terrible ending.

What was interesting for me during the running time was how much I held on, hoping that the movie was going to get better.  I didn't dismiss it right away, like I should, I kept pulling for it to get good, and of course, that never happened.  This is bad, but that won't stop it from making big cash in its first weekend, since nothing else new is coming out and The People need something to do now that all of the Oscar-type films have been released.  Ugh.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/28/09