Horror films are one of the few genres in which nearly as much pleasure can be found in viewing a bad film as a good one (the other major genre would be the sword-and-sandal/fantasy genre, and that’s as much for the man-flesh typically on display).

The Unborn is pretty widely regarded as utterly terrible, but hearing about it piqued my interest, as the subject matter seemed like a refreshing change from the usual God/Satan palaver that preoccupies most supernatural horror. And hey, I sat through Angels & Demons, I can take anything Hollywood can dish out.

At 32 seconds in, we’re not off to a good start, as the first trailer is for a Bring It On film. If that’s the target audience for a “horror” movie, I’m not optimistic.

At 2:00, a Frost/Nixon commercial. Who, exactly, do they think this film is for?

Twenty seconds of scenes from the film before we even get to the menu screen. Why? To prepare me for the Intensity! I’m about to experience?

0:01:30 Oh, horror films? Where would you be if you weren’t allowed to do overheard tracking shots of protagonists at the start? Slightly less cliche, probably.

0:02:00 Yes, I knew going in that this was going to be about a “scary” kid. But I still wasn’t quite prepared for just how close to the stereotype they were going to go with the make-up.

0:02:20 No, I was wrong. That’s pretty fucked up.

0:03:30 The pickled punk opening its eyes probably would have been more effective if her total lack of reaction to spooky-kid turning into a dog hadn’t already signaled us that this was a dream sequence.

0:06:20 “Jambi wants to be born now.” As in the Genie from Pee-Wee’s Playhouse? I suppose I could turn on the subtitles to check, but honestly, I suspect I’m going to be hearing it a LOT in the next 80 minutes.

0:07:30 Underwear shot of the lead. I’m used to this sort of thing in horror films, but isn’t she supposed to be in high school?

0:09:20 Bugs in the eggs. Novel, but I still stand by my belief that insects are not particularly scary.

0:10:00 And we meet the friends who will die to convince the lead that something supernatural is happening to her.

0:10:50 Oh, it’s “Jumby.” Not a particularly scary name. But neither was “Pazuzu” I guess.

0:11:20 Back nudity! So I guess this is teen-friendly horror for boys after all. Instead of the female-focused horror the subject matter would have suggested.

0:12:43 Eye-injury motifs, with a speculum holding the eye-lids open. So we’re back to body-horror stuff, which feels more female. But then why did we get a shower scene?

0:17:05 You hear a knocking from inside the medicine cabinet and you check your bottle of face cream? Not the room on the other side of the wall?

0:17:35 Eh, I’ll take it, if this is all the beefcake I can expect.

0:21:30 This woman is having an awfully severe emotional reaction to discovering she had an in utero twin. Oh, right, horror movie.

0:23:00 Wait, she’s not being haunted by the ghost of her dead unborn twin, but by a kid who died in the Holocaust? Movie, make up your damn mind!

0:25:10 Mystic elderly Jewish lady, how can she have the “manner” of a twin if she just found out she was one yesterday?

0:26:50 “You’re the superstitious one here!” Exactly. And she’s telling you you’re crazy. Film-makers, when even the unrational characters are telling your lead that the plot doesn’t make sense, you may have a problem.

0:27:40 Film projector’s are “not easy to find these days?” Really, movie? Really?

0:28:50 Someone made a grainy black and white film of walking through an empty corridor where nothing happens? Yeah. Scary. Or an art-school project.

0:31:15 Why is there a glory-hole in the ladies restroom?

0:32:20 Yes. Overflowing toilers. Very scary.

0:34:20 Sleeping with scissors under your pillow seems very unsmart, even from a folk magic perspective.

0:37:00 So, she is haunted by the ghost of her unborn twin, who is also the ghost of her grand-mother’s twin, who died in the Holocaust, in a occult Nazi experiment on twins?
Movie, take one plot, and stick with it.

0:43:30 Did she just seriously ask a rabbi if he can read Hebrew?

0:48:25 So if the ghost can possess the creepy neighbor kid, why, exactly, does he need to go after anyone else for a body?

0:55:10 When did crab-walking become one of the filmic short-hands for “possession?” Was it an Exorcist movie?

0:55:45 There are no night nurses or orderlies in this seniors home that provides medical care?

0:59:00 I don’t know what it is, but every-time I see a shot of Gary Oldman in a film, and he’s alone in a building at night, I keep expecting Alfred Molina to show up and beat him to death.

1:00:05 No! Bad movie! Bad! That’s more fucked up than a film of your quality is allowed to be!

1:02:30 And once again we learn that it’s a really bad idea to be a black character in a horror movie.

1:04:10 Why is creepy kid being treated by paramedics when he’s covered in blood and his prints are on the murder weapon?

1:06:30 You know, in real life I appreciate a more than healthy skepticism towards the supernatural. But in fiction, having rabbis and priests dismiss the concept of the supernatural really feels off.

1:07:30 A legal waiver before an exorcism can be performed. Cute.

1:08:20 Performing an exorcism in the hospital where your mother killed herself. Yes, that will help convince people that this is real and not just you having a breakdown of some sort.

1:15:00 I don’t suppose that anyone is actually surprised that an exorcism turned out to be a really bad idea?

1:16:00 And once again, I have to ask, if the ghost can pretty much possess anyone at this point, why does it really care if it possesses our lead girl? I mean, yeah, we got all that mystical hoo-har about twins being special, but, really. It’s “strong enough” to possess anyone now. It’s acting more like an ex that won’t get the message than a demonic being trying to get back into the world.

1:17:30 Oh, please. Everyone it could possess is now dead or unconscious except for the heroine or her boyfriend. It’s so going into the boyfriend now.

1:17:40 Yep, there it goes. Now for Gary Oldman to pull off the last second rescue.

1:18:45 Yep, there he is.

1:20:15 Two survivors out of eleven. Nice to know that Jewish exorcisms have the same success ratio as Catholic ones. I wonder if the Anglican Deliverance rites have a better one?

1:21:20 And our obligatory shock twist ending is that she was pregnant all along. Which really isn’t all that surprising.

Final verdict: Yeah, there’s a reason I usually avoid exorcism themed movies.

7 Responses to “How Bad Is The Unborn?”
  1. M.A. Masterson says:

    We named the cat “Pazuzu.”

  2. Thom says:

    Really, trailers have little to do with the target audience of the main film and more to do with the studio that put it out. In some cases, such as Lions Gate, Anchor Bay and Dimension, their specialties include horror, so much of the trailers are horror films. But most movies I rent have trailers that have zero relation to the film that I am about to watch. You would THINK they would WANT to advertise similar films…but yeah… Hollywood just figures the fan of the Saw films is really interested in seeing Atonement as well.

  3. Thank you for suffering through this so we didn’t have to. My sympathies for your wasting of 81 minutes!

  4. Phil says:

    I initially read “Gary Oldman” as “Gary Coleman”.

    Having a mental picture of Alfred Molina beating up Gary Coleman was strange indeed.

  5. Cully says:

    Glory holes belong in men’s rooms only. Duh.

  6. CATRsChris says:

    I saw this movie in the theater when it first came out, I didn’t dislike it much, but for some reason, I complete deleted it from my memory. I kind of saw it again through your review, lol. Yeah, my selective memory just erases bad stuff.

  7. Jon H says:

    “But neither was “Pazuzu” I guess.”

    But at least it’s historical. So somebody, a couple thousand years ago, thought it was kewl.

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