From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Unborn - D

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and terror, disturbing images, thematic material and language including some sexual references, 87 minutes

"Unborn" is dead on arrival

January, much like September, is a time when movie studios often roll out their turkeys following the big summer or holiday releases. After such great recent movies as "Benjamin Button," "The Reader" and "Gran Torino" we now get to see dreck like "The Unborn" unleashed on the movie-going public. Marketed as a slick horror-thriller from the writer of "The Dark Knight," it does have a few nice, jumpy visuals and an interesting premise, but "Unborn" quickly falls apart quickly into a complete, predictable bore (I stopped counting how many times I yawned during this film).

A young college student named Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman, in need of a new stage name) begins having strange dreams about weird dogs with masks, little boys that wear one blue mitten, creepy bugs and her suicidal mother. When her eyes mysteriously change colors - both of them different colors - she realizes she may have been a twin. Except her twin, nicknamed Jumby (I'm not making this up) is haunting her from "the other side" because she was born and not him.

After learning the truth, she finds an old Jewish woman (Jane Alexander) who may be her grandmother and who may have some secrets about her past. Her boyfriend ("Twilight's" Cam Gigandet), her best friend (Meagan Good) and a rabbi (Gary Oldman, slumming it) help exorcise her demonic twin brother so he doesn't ever bother her again and he can go on playing with dead people.

"The Unborn" has a great cast, interesting plot, a talented director and writer - but it still is a mess of a movie. The premise of "The Unborn," that of a Jewish "Exorcist," is intriguing and appealing, and David S. Goyer, writer of last summer mega-blockbuster "The Dark Knight," writes and directs here too. He peppers it with a handful of creepy, jumpy visuals (bugs and people walking around on their back) but the story doesn't add up and is otherwise a complete, unscary bore.

Yustman, of the TV show "October Road," wanders around aimlessly while good actors Alexander and Oldman are all but wasted in brief, one-note roles, as is one of my favorite actresses, Carla Gugino ("American Gangster"), as Casey's beleagured, mentally unstable mother.

"Unborn" also has a few of the most uninintentionally bad laughs seen in some time, as a little creepy boy wanders around and utters "Jumby wants to be born" and "if you help her, you will die" while riding around on his big wheel. "The Omen" this is not. After the initial, intriguing opening chapters, the rest of the story falls apart until its altogether ridiculous climax.

Movies may be a good escape, but I much rather enjoy escaping to good movies. Don't bother with "The Unborn" unless you have seen all other good movies out there (that would be just about everything) and don't have anything else to do. The badness of all this makes me yearn for the return of my favorite show "Lost" in a few weeks, at least then I'll have something interesting to watch.