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The Unborn - DVD Review


DOA is a clinical acronym used in trauma wards when nothing can be done to revive a person wheeled in. Ironically, â"Dead On Arrival" pretty much sums up the reception of this film when it hit cinemas in January this year. If you do intend to watch this flatliner on DVD, then have all the lights on, or else you might fall asleep.

The so called plot has Odette Yustman playing Casey Beldon, a woman on her wits end caused by ghastly nightmares of a demonic child. Just for kicks, this little devil also manifests itself into a dog for Casey's utter horror. After a terrifying incident babysitting kids next door, her eyes mysteriously change color. A visit to the optician reveals that this rare disorder occurs only amongst twins. That is when her father decides to tell her that she inadvertently strangled her (unborn) twin brother with her umbilical cord while still in the womb of their mother. This also forms the reason why her mother became mad before committing suicide. When Casey meets her grandmother Sofi for the first time, she learns that an unspeakable evil entity has been relentlessly looking for a portal into the world of the living. Sofi goes on to explain that she too had a twin brother, a possessed twin brother. And that she too killed her twin brother, intentionally restraining the entity to the netherworld. This obviously forms the premise of Casey's problems as she now has to deal with one very pissed off evil spirit whose butt has been kicked one too many times by the same family. Recommended by Sofi, Casey enlists the services of Rabbi Sendak, who further elaborates the dangers of dealing with this malevolent force, before coming up with a plan to exorcise the vengeful demon once and for all. Being the good Rabbi that he is, Sendak performs his debut Jewish exorcism, resulting in a showdown that kicks the demon's butt once again. Or so everyone thinks.

The UnbornHaving scripted the mega smash-hit Batman Begins amongst other top movies, I was appalled by this outcome from David S. Goyer who not only scripts again, but goes on to prove that directing horror films is not his forte. Directing aside, his main flaw lies in his cliché ridden script rife with ideas borrowed from Asian as well as home grown horror flicks. Another blow to the film comes from the lack of enthusiasm from the lead actress. For a person chasing and being chased by demons her whole life, Yustman's character is nothing but a cardboard cut out. That said, what should have been a PG rated film gets a PG-13 probably because of Yustman's modeling of Victoria Secrets' underwear, as most of her scenes has her parading in just knickers. Trust me; even the movie poster says the same thing. Towards the end, she is also seen marketing colored contact lenses, if not having borrowed Kate Beckinsale's used costume props from the Underworld series. The significant others are Gary Oldman as Rabbi Sendak and Carla Gugino as Casey's mentally disturbed mother. I wouldn't even call these supporting roles, as both these top actors appear barely thrice during the entire film, reducing their mention to mere cameos. Gugino doesn't speak at all and when Oldman does in the last scene, its all Yiddish gibberish. The only redeeming factor may be in the eerie cinematography, capturing a sense of isolation in outdoor snowy scenes. Indoors and it's the same old jumpy hand-on-the-shoulder scenes, hellish nightmares, creepy kids, mirrors, and for good measure, the tried and tested bathroom scene; seen these before? It's all here.

Optimistically speaking, it is worth mentioning the fact that Goyer has a flair for super heroes. While scripting for the Blade trilogy and The Dark Knight resulted in box-office hits, he is reportedly said to be returning to the action/fantasy genre he knows best. Perhaps that is because he has learnt a valuable yet scary lesson after having a go at the horror genre. But only time will tell, as hopefully his proposed X-Men Origins: Magneto, will attract a box-office pull displaying his true mettle. Pun intended.


 

DVD

DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: English

Language and Sound: Thai: Dolby Digital 5.1; Thai: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; trailer; making-of featurette; cast and crew interviews.

Supplements:

Commentary

Featurettes

Previews - The Original Korean Trailer (1:43)

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging

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