Film Reviews

The Unborn
Universal Pictures

Being classed in the supernatural horror genre and given a 15 certificate made me doubt the capability The Unborn would have on terrifying, shocking and grasping the attention of a viewer with its visuals and story. After watching the trailer, it seemed as though much of the story line and many of the shocking areas were unveiled so what else could the film have in store?

As the trailer explains, Casey (Odette Yustman) is a young woman who begins to experience inexplicable things in her life, beginning with a strange dream and ending with an exorcism. After a night of babysitting turns out quite disturbing, Casey begins to exhibit the heterochromia, a condition where the iris in each of the eyes are two different colours. She is told this usually occurs in twins, which she never knew she was until this point. It is the death of this unborn twin that creates the driving point for the film. As the story continues, Casey is pulled into a world of nightmares as she is haunted by visions of a young boy with piercing blue eyes.

After some research into her visions, and the death of her mother, Casey begins to understand what she is experiencing; this is something vital to understanding the film and something the trailer doesn’t give away, and nor will I. As the movie concludes, Casey begins to wonder why after all these years her twin has chosen this point in her life to return, and this is a closing point for the film.

I absolutely adore all things freaky, the more they are shocking and make a viewer jump the more enjoyable and satisfying they are. Writer/director David Goyer uses some terrifying visual images to give viewers a glimpse into the supernatural, which are astonishing for a film with such a certificate. Visions of demons dogs, a twisted (literally) old man, a very decayed mother and a boy with bright blue eyes that could pierce the heart of anyone jumping at you left right and centre are just some of the startling points; there are many more that the trailer has not uncovered. Within the opening dream sequence for example, I was unprepared for what was coming and jumped out of my skin. Sometimes it is the small and unexpected things that give you the creeps and make you wish you were not sitting on the end of the back row in the cinema.

Some people believe that mirrors are portals to another world, and at some points through The Unborn this seems to have some truth. However, the movie poster showing a half naked Casey looking into the mirror with the vision of a young boy looking back at her reflection was not needed to promote the film. The story line and images alone have the depth to do this themselves.

Gary Oldman plays Rabbi Joseph Sendak within this film, someone who may disbelieve the accounts he hears from Casey as well as his own eyes, but offers his help in exorcising the spirit who is focusing on tormenting her. Ethan Cutkosky makes his film debut and does a remarkable attempt at scaring the life out of everyone with his antagonistic manner and sharp blue eyes, while Yustman puts across her terrified and determined status well.

Cast, plot as well as cinematography is all bang on in making The Unborn one of the most startling and freakishly enjoyable films I have seen in a while.

Michelle Moore