Forget Megan Fox. Odette Yustman is the hottest young actress working today. In her follow-up to Cloverfield, in which she made a name for herself despite being in the movie for just a few minutes, she plays a young woman who is being haunted by her dead, unborn twin. That's got to suck.
The Unborn relies on a pretty reliable formula: take a hot actress, throw her into a horror movie and add a creepy child. The formula is generally effective, and as routine horror movies go, The Unborn isn't too painful. There are some genuinely scary monsters that, unfortunately, are not used to their full potential and enough tense moments to get through the film's 88 minutes of running time.
Writer/director David Goyer, the writer of Batman Begins, has fleshed out a nice-looking picture that - surprise, surprise - takes place in Chicago (home to The Dark Knight). The camerawork and colors are fluid and smooth, and the picture generally looks and feels like more than your typical horror movie.
Unfortunately, The Unborn is your typical horror movie, offering little originality whatsoever. Yustman parades around in very form fitting wear, despite it being winter in Illinois; that's fine with me. But if you've ever seen an exorcism movie in the past - and if you're reading this review, I'm sure you have - then you've seen The Unborn. The main character starts seeing things, and she somehow concludes that she is being haunted by a demon. She evokes the help of religious man (to be unique, Goyer made him a rabbi and managed to convince Gary Oldman to play him) to cast out the spirit, and the ending devolves into the typical chanting, things flying around, blah blah blah.
As with any of these movies, once the exorcism sequence begins, you know you can relax because all of the good scares and creepiness are behind you. Though Goyer relies on the dream sequences way too much in this picture, he at least makes them mildly intriguing; but once the final third of the film kicks into gear, Goyer resorts to friends getting possessed, lots of shouting and not much else.
As far as horror movies go, The Unborn could be worse, but its unoriginality is its downfall. Nevertheless, the movie is a big step up from Goyer's previous directorial efforts, which include Blade: Trinity and the God-awful The Invisible, and shows that Yustman can, indeed, helm a movie.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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