Rating: Skip it
Dybbuks, jogging and death — oh my! That is what unfolds in David Goyer’s The Unborn, but don’t jump up to see it so quickly.
The Unborn doesn’t take long to get into weak, shock factor scare tactics, starting in the opening scene with quick cuts, a mask-wearing bull terrier, and an fetus in formaldehyde that opens its eyes. Cheesy effects top off the rest of the movie, implementing the use of potato bugs, wriggling tentacles, and alien-like dead people. With the main character, Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman), spending inordinate amounts of time in her underwear and jogging in slow motion, it leaves little time for anything resembling character development.
The movie spawns from Jewish mysticism, a dybbuk and Nazi experiments on twins in Auschwitz. The dybbuk is a wandering soul attempting to be reborn through someone in Beldon’s family. Hallucinations start before anything is physically wrong with Beldon, but once one of her pupils changes color, her best friend Romy (Meagan Good) makes sure to point it out: “Case, there’s something wrong with your eye.” This only serves to add to the unrealistic dialogue and overly explain a situation that leaves little for the viewer to think about.
Beldon starts a quest to get to the bottom of her new eye color, eventually talking to a woman who we find out is her long lost grandmother (Jane Alexander) through the convenient placement of archived articles and footage in her basement. After learning the dybbuk killed her twin and her mother, Beldon summons Rabbi Sendak (Gary Oldman) and a basketball coach-gone-priest (Idris Elba) to perform a nonsensical exorcism. In the end, after the cast has been killed off for Beldon’s own selfish good (it leaves you hating her by the end), and her father (James Remar) mysteriously drops from the script, we can finally rest easy.
But wait, this movie wouldn’t be complete without a predictable twist and a lead in to a possible sequel depending on box office sales. Don’t let this happen. The bottom line is that this short, 87-minute-long movie will leave you feeling like you’ve wasted a whole night.