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Starring: Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman, Meagan Good, Idris Elba, Carla Gugino

Director: David S. Goyer

Screenplay: David S. Goyer

Cinematography: James Hawkinson 

Original Score: Ramin Djawadi

Running Time: 87 mins.

While the slasher film continues to carve itself back into audience conciousness, in The Unborn we have the next entry into the genre known as J-Horror and one which Hollywood just won’t let go of without a fight, despite the dire performances of the likes of  One Missed Call, Dark Water and *shudder* The Eye.

So here we have the next ‘girl gets haunted, girl discovers far reaching and cliched story behind haunting, girl overcomes haunting’ film, but if it’s made well who’s going to complain and Batman Begins/The Dark Knight scribe David S. Goyer certainly takes a good stab at injecting some flair into what is inevitably old hat, even if he does ultimately fail…

The tone set is suitably creepy, and choosing to shoot in Chicago’s bleak mid-winter is a coup lending a much needed feeling of despair and impending doom, it’s a great shame that events unfolding in the story can’t emulate this. As the rather stunning Casey Beldman (Odette Yustman) segues between various haunting locations, involving the usual mirrors, dogs and creepy old woman, who may or may not hold they key to the mystery, there is a distinct feeling of seen it all before that makes the (very brief) running time drag with no real pace to speak of, feeling much like we never get beyond the first act.

Interestingly stateside the tack for advertising this was changed shortly before relese, previous posters bore the haunted people/creatures and now the focus seems to be on Yustman’s arse, certainly not something I would complain at but it does beg the question, why? The genuinely freaky parts are clever, and there are the odd inspirational moments, including a dream sequence that wouldn’t feel out of place on Elm Street! But the feeling of deja vu is all to obvious and just when you think it’s getting going we take yet another step back

One glaring step back is the dialogue, hackneyed at best, Yustman does her best with a pretty generic part, and it’s only in her scenes with best friend (good) that it truly grates, did we really need the cheesy teen movie asides between friends… I think not , and just as you feel you can’t take any more Gray Oldman pops up as a Rabbi (on loan from The Dark Knight seemingly!) to give the final furlong a little gravitas,  Jewish Exorcism. Check!

 VERDICT

Managing to squeeze a couple of fresh scares out of an otherwise cliched premise is The Unborn’s greatest achievement, but it never really reaches any kind of momentum relying in cat-in-the-fridge jolts to keep you awake interested…just.

grade-d.

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