So this movie, “The Unborn”, looked like it could be pretty creepy, and the idea of a girl that was a twin whose brother died in the womb but was haunting her and trying to be born was an idea with some promise. Unfortunately, David S. Goyer chose to add a bunch of other stuff, hence turning a promising idea into a long-winded, convoluted, nonsensical mess.
So, Casey, Odette Yusman from “Cloverfield”, has this weird dream of herself jogging (that ‘s not the weird part- she seems to do this a lot), along suburban Chicago neighborhood roads and she comes across a blue mitten in the road. Then one night she’s babysitting this creepy little kid across the street and he says “Jumby wants to be born now”, and hits Casey. “Jumby”? Nothing named “Jumby” can be all that scary, can it? Then things get weird, including Casey’s eyes turning really light blue, and she starts having hallucinations of potato bugs and this really pale kid with a bad hair cut.
We find out that her mom spent her last days institutionalized in a kind of hospital and that she was adopted and went looking for her real mom, played by Jane Alexander. So, after finding some of her mom’s old stuff, Casey goes looking for her grandmother and finds out that these dreams are caused by not her unborn twin, but a “dybbuk”, which is an evil spirit from Jewish mythology that is trying to find a human body to host it.
There is a lot of complicated stuff about this being and the Jewish mythology that surrounds it, but ultimately no one never really tells us how this dybbuk came to be or how it showed up. They just say, “some doorway was opened” and it came through. How? Why? I guess that wasn’t important to Goyer. He just loads up the script with a story of Auschwitz and how the Nazi’s did experiments on young twins because they somehow thought twins had some answers to genetics or something.
This movie is inexplicable in so many ways. Odette Yusman is not a very good actress, at least not in this. And why is Jane Alexander in this? Isn’t she better than this material? James Remar appears, playing Casey’s father, for one scene. Then he is “out of town” for the rest of the film, as are everyone’s parents apparently, because we never see any of Casey’s friends’ parents even though we spend some time in their homes. And clearly Gary Oldman was bored and needed a little extra money because he turns up in this and though he is a fine actor, he seems to be kind of walking through this as the Rabbi Sendak that performs the Jewish exorcism on Casey to rid her of the pesky, pale little boy she keeps seeing randomly in the street and even inside her medicine cabinet. Yeah, if you hear something knocking inside your medicine cabinet, don’t open it. I’m just sayin’.
There aren’t many good things to say about this movie. I guess there are a couple of creepy moments but most of the scares come in the form of cheap “gotchas” that don’t really have any connection to anything. And Casey spends a lot of time in her really tight fitting underwear. That was nice, albeit utterly useless in her attempt to rid herself of the dybbuk. In fact, if I were a dybbuk and saw her in her underwear, I can assure you it would take a Hell of a lot more than an exorcism to get rid of me. Can you even get a restraining order on a murderous evil spirit?
I suppose the fact that this movie was produced by Michael Bay should say all it needs to. It’s just another bad horror movie for the nearly endless pile of bad horror movies Hollywood is subjecting us to. Go see something else.
–Neil T. Weakley, your bored average movie-goer.