Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Film Review: "The Unborn" (D)


You know, I give PG-13 horror movies a lot of flack on this blog. It is extremely rare for me to like one. And I have reasons for that. They seem to be chiefly made to make money off the hordes of teenagers that crowd movie theaters on Friday nights, but they're never developed fully because ... well, they don't really need to be, do they? If you've ever been in a crowded movie theater with a bunch of high school students on a Friday night, you know like I do that only a few of them actually pay attention to the movie.

This is very obviously a movie that was underdeveloped from the beginning. It's poorly directed, poorly acted, and by god it's poorly written.

There's not one thing I like about the film ... except for maybe that Gary Oldman is in it. And I'm not quite sure how they got him to be in it, although I suspect it was one of those "well, I'm still getting paid" things. Unfortunately, the script isn't magically any better because the words are coming out of Oldman's mouth. Also, while I'm on the subject of actors taking roles I wouldn't ever see them in - why is Carla Gugino in this film? I've seen her work - including a play on Broadway - and I know that she is much, much better than this.

Here's my one line review: Tries to steal from "The Exorcist," only it doesn't work at all.

While watching the film, I could hear people react to the creepy ways in which some of the possessed people walk as if it was all that original. That's straight out of "The Exorcist" my friends. And how do I know that? Because when I first saw the unrated version of that film, the spider-walk was burned into my brain. I get that directors and writers often want to pay homage to the films they grew up with, but here's the thing:

If you don't have a strong story or script to begin with, putting in these scenes as a sort of kickback to your favorite films from your formative years, it just comes off as stealing. It looks cheap and like you're going for the easy, quick scare. People forget that the reason the spider-walk worked so well for "The Exorcist" is because the rest of the film was so strong. It's not as if the spider-walk made that film what it is.

That being said, this film doesn't fail purely because it's PG-13. If it was rated R, I probably would have thought it just as bad ... only perhaps slightly more fun to watch. This film mostly fails for the same reason I hated "The Happening" - it comes off as if every part of its making was lazy.

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