The Unborn (2009) Movie Review
Written by: ML
Edited by: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: David S. Goyer
Producers: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller
Writers: David S. Goyer
Date Released: January 9, 2009
Odette Annable as Casey
Meagan Good as Romy
Gary Oldman as Rabbi Joseph Sendak
Cam Gigandet as Mark
Jane Alexander as Sofi Kozma
Idris Elba as Arthur Wyndham
Carla Gugino as Janet Beldon
Atticus Shaffer as Matty
Ethan Cutkosky as Barto
Rating = 3.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The story is about a young woman who lost her mother and started to have nightmares about a child and a fetus. Despite the consultation with her superstitious friend, she didn’t know that the boy she was babysitting was already possessed by a demonic creature from the Jewish legends called the dybbuk. She made her research and tracked a woman from her mother’s personal things. Turns out, this woman was actually her grandmother who revealed to her everything that is happening, especially the truth about her unborn brother. It was a generational haunting that started from her grandmother Sofi, then to her mother, and now to her. She sought the help of a rabbi who asked the help of an Episcopal priest to do the exorcism. The dybbuk was exorcised but left a few dead people and loved ones.
Though there is little to no blood and gore, there are great jump scares in this movie. The most notable ones are the fetus eyes right at the beginning, the boy behind the mirror cabinet, the boy’s distorted face at the night club, the mother suddenly looking up with a terrifying face, the boy appearing behind Sofi at the maintenance room, Matty stabbing Romy, and Mark appearing behind Casey during the exorcism. The demon boy’s face is scary enough to give nightmares and his random possession also gives the creeps. Not to mention the part when the old man’s head rolled upside down and crawled at Sofi, the dog’s upside down head at the synagogue, and the woman’s body bending backwards during the exorcism.
The Grave Review
If the audiences just base their judgment on the poster or the title, anyone would have the notion that this movie is just a horror story about an unborn child or abortion. It is not until Sofi’s revelation that this is presented as a ghost story that involves an exorcism.
What’s good about this movie is the fact that they incorporated Jewish mysticism, superstition, and the Kabbalah into the exorcism story. This is what made it interesting despite the same old “haunted by ghosts” and “demonic possession” premises. The mythology of the dybbuk, the involvement of a rabbi, and their actual process of exorcism is something new. Even the idea of twins was turned into a nightmare.
In terms of acting, the main character failed to express fear and terror. What Casey showed throughout the movie was curiosity and the thirst for truth. So instead of focusing on the horror of it all, the audiences were led to the need to uncover the mystery. By the time the exorcism is being performed, the audiences are going to be looking forward to the end result rather than the horrific process.
The funny thing about this movie is the part when the dybbuk started killing and possessing random people up until the exorcism proper. If that’s the case, then the exorcism should take a little longer. But it was quick and rather disappointing.
It was also a bit sad that Gary Oldman and Idris Elba had little exposure in this movie. They would’ve made it even meatier in terms of acting, especially that their roles were important in banishing the dybbuk.
Overall, this movie is great if you are looking for a new concept in the world of exorcism. It’s a good exploration of superstitions about twins as well.
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