x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

The Unborn

After a fairly intriguing first half, The Unborn unravels into a patchwork of stock horror movie scenes.

Gary Oldman and Odette Yustman in The Unborn.
Gary Oldman and Odette Yustman in The Unborn.

The tagline for The Unborn is: "Evil will do anything to live." So, it seems, will B-grade horror movies. The film tells the story of Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman), a teenage girl trying to stop an evil spirit from possessing her. In an intriguing first half, Casey finds out that she is a twin and that her estranged grandmother's brother was the victim of inhumane Nazi experiments during the Second World War. The spirit, she learns, is a result of the latter. But as the story progresses, any kind of sensible plot or suspense gives way to a patchwork of stock horror movie components. The evil spirit transposes from one host to the next in a manner reminiscent of the 1998 film Fallen. Then there is the "spider-walk", which could only disturb those who have never seen The Exorcist. The predictable culling of the best friend is more reminiscent of a scene out of Scary Movie - the only frightening part being that the director probably did not intend for it to be funny. To the film's credit, there is a spooky dog, some Mirrors-like scenes and a violent little boy next door, all of which provide the odd jump. The biggest surprise, however, is that an actor of Gary Oldman's calibre would have chosen to appear in this film. My advice: rent Fallen, The Exorcist or The Exorcism of Emily Rose instead.