90 percent of horror movies suck. There’s just no way around it – Hollywood has been unable to consistently deliver scary movies that are worth watching, especially over the past 20 years. Of course, the ways that a horror film can fail its audience are legion – not enough blood and guts, too much blood and guts, over-reliance on startling the audience with false alarms and loud noises, a Stephen King-derived plot – from their very conception, most movies in this genre are doomed to fail.
The trailer for The Unborn made the movie look like it would be nothing less than a wall-to-wall fear-inducing visual mind-fuck of creepy shit, with everything from dogs with upside down heads to elderly crab-walking victims of possession cribbed straight from The Exorcist. This bombastic advertising approach is no doubt thanks to producer Michael Bay, the auteur most renowned for blowing shit up every three seconds in order to distract audiences from the lack of cohesive plot. Unfortunately, director David Goyer neuters the quick-witted style he had displayed in the Blade trilogy and the Dark Knight and vomits out one of the least interesting films of the still-young 2009 season.
Where do I begin? How about the wonderful way the film instantly transitions from teenage-age protagonist Casey (played by the poor man’s Megan Fox, Odette Yustman) freaking out in the classroom to an inexplicable SHOWER SCENE where we get full underage backal nudity to ogle at? Not only do we have our suspension of disbelief shattered but we don’t even get to see any tits! I didn’t stick around to catch the credits – honestly, I had trouble making it to the end of the film in the first place – but I hope Yustman’s moose knuckle fires its agent, because its name definitely should have been above the title for all the screen time it gets peeking out from behind the briefest of undies foisted upon her by wardrobe. Speaking of bizarre casting decisions, Gary Oldman must have killed a hooker in his hotel room while they were filming the last Batman movie because I can think of no other reason he would feel obligated to step into the two-dimensional rabbinical role he is asked to play in this complete waste of celluloid.
The Unborn is filled to the brim with clichés – fetuses in glass jars (which we see at least 10 times over the course of the movie), spooky looking Euro-children with dead eyes and 40’s-era clothing, and completely absent parents – but the one that really summed things up for me occurred during the final exorcism scene when the evil bad guy thing took over the body of the muscular, virile African-American priest and transformed him into a raging psychopath bent of chasing down and, of course, violating the helpless main character. That The Unborn would stoop to such an exploitative stereotype – that of the unstoppable black male frothing at the mouth as he pounds across the screen towards the lithe and fertile white female – indicates just how bereft the film is of any original thought or effort.
They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same actions over and over and expecting a different result. Judging by the relatively full theatre that surrounded me at last night’s screening, horror fans are either just as insane as I am, or were hoping for a little more T and A than we got from this chicken-shit, going through the motions PG-13 ass-fest.
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