Sunday, August 9, 2009

"The Unborn", "The Uninvited", The Underwhelmed

"The Unborn" stars Odette Yustman as a pretty co-ed with tight underwear (I think her name is Casey) whose world goes haywire when the neighbourhood boy she's baby-sitting knocks her on the noggin and declares: "Jumby wants to be born now". Things get sinister when she discovers that she had a twin who died in utero - and the parents' nickname for him was....oh my God....Jumby!

Well, as it turns out, this haunting has little to do with the dead twin and more to do with what's called a "Dybbuk", a malevolent entity that is constantly seeking to re-enter the world of the living. Casey's family has had this thing on their tail since the days of Auschwitz, where Casey's grandmother and her....oh my God....twin were subject to Nazi experiments to change eye colour. The grandmother's twin died and the Dybbuk took over his body.

Casey decides the best way to deal with her situation is to have an exorcism, and calls upon priest Gary Oldman to help out. In the meantime, the Dybbuk takes it upon itself to bump off everybody in Casey's life. My biggest beef here is that the Dybbuk seems to possess people at will. It apparently wants to possess Casey - so what exactly is stopping it? I don't think it's explained why it can possess other people and not its main target. Other than that, I have to give "The Unborn" props for at least trying to come up with something original. When 90% of mainstream horror releases are remakes, it's refreshing to see a studio take a punt on a script a little different. While not scary and ultimately not successful, "The Unborn" does boast an original idea, which is more than can be said for most movies.

"The Uninvited" is a remake of the Asian horror movie "A Tale Of Two Sisters". Emily Browning plays a girl who is released from an institution after the death of her mother. She returns home to her father (David Strathairn) and his new girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks), who just happened to be her mother's nurse. Along with her sister (Arielle Kebbel), the suspicion is that Banks wants to kill them both so that she can have daddy all to herself. They even believe that she was responsible for the murders of three children from years ago.

This is one of those movies that doesn't have much to say until its "twist" ending, so everything but the kitchen sink is thrown in here to try and make us believe something is actually happening. Scary visions, nightmares and false boo scares make up the running time until the big reveal. And let me just say, it's now been ten years since "The Sixth Sense" and scriptwriters REALLY NEED TO FIND A NEW TWIST ENDING! To be honest, the previews alone were enough to make me suspect what the ending would be and I wanted to see if I was right. I like being right, obviously, but I like an entertaining movie more. I'm going to make a movie where every single character has been dead all along and call it "The Underwhelmed". Or maybe "The Unsurprised". Or maybe "The Unentertained". And so on....


  1. I think it might have been a Dybbuck that promised to lay our garden path (cleverly disguised as a lying bogan penis-head). Speaking of The Underwhelmed, don't ever be tempted to hire Knowing. Nicolas Cage is truly awful (as usual) and why is it that Rose Byrne has only one facial expression (as in, broom handle up arse)?

  2. Whatever possessed them? Isn't David Strathairn a good actor?