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Stillborn may have been a better title for THE UNBORN ($40), which comes across as a half-baked horror movie from writer/director David S. Goyer. Now don’t get me wrong, the "Jewish Exorcist" concept of the film had a whole lot of potential, but final cut of the movie plays as though the director filmed the script outline, instead of the finished screenplay, which might have contained the all the story details that could have filled in some gaping holes in logic, not to mention adding some sorely needed characterization. Also, actress Jane Alexander is wasted in the film… her character is the most interesting one in the movie, and had they built up her back-story; THE UNBORN could have been a great horror movie. Instead, Alexander only serves a story construct whose sole purpose is to deliver the crucial exposition that explains what kind of monster the heroine has encountered in the movie.

THE UNBORN stars Odette Yustman as Casey Beldon, a pretty, young coed, who is having nightmares about an evil child with bright blue eyes. As the film progresses, the nightmare child manifests itself into the waking world and Casey finds herself being attacked a babysitting charge, who strikes her with a mirror. After being hit with the mirror, Casey's own eyes begin to change color… A doctor’s examination reveals that Casey has a genetic disorder inherent to twins, in which the DNA of one twin is absorbed into the other. This leads to a confrontation with her father, where Casey learns that she had a twin brother, who died in the womb. Ultimately, Casey discovers that a wandering spirit known as dybbuk is haunting her, and that the dybbuk wants to use her to be born into the world of the living. As a result, Casey seeks the help of Rabbi Sendak (Gary Oldman) to perform a Jewish exorcism to eliminate the dybbuk… However, the dybbuk has no intention of leaving this world without a fight. The cast of THE UNBORN also includes Meagan Good, Cam Gigandet, Idris Elba, Atticus Shaffer, James Remar, Carla Gugino, C.S. Lee, Michael Sassone and Ethan Cutkosky.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made THE UNBORN available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. Both the original Theatrical Version and the Unrated Version of the film are present on the disc. Although THE UNBORN isn’t a great horror movie, the 1080p presentations are quite impressive. The picture appears sharp and highly dimensional, in addition to delivering a terrific level of fine detail and texturing. Colors favor a somewhat desaturated palette and the cooler hues of the film’s wintertime setting. Blacks are pitch perfect and the whites are crisp. Contrast is very smooth, and the level of shadow detail is very good. The elements from which THE UNBORN has been mastered are virtually pristine. A fine grain is present throughout and adds an organic quality to the presentation.

THE UNBORN is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. All of the outlying channels are well implemented with plenty of directionality being present during the film’s "action-oriented" moments. Additionally, the sound design is effective at heightening the creepiness factor by the placement of odd noises and blaring zingers. The track also cleanly renders the tension inducing horror movie atmospherics. Fidelity is pretty terrific; the music has a full-bodied quality, while the sound effects have weight thanks to a strong bass component. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. French, Spanish DTS 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French, Spanish and German subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some Deleted Scenes. THE UNBORN is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

THE UNBORN certainly had an original premise and a whole lot of unexplored potential. Too bad the finished film didn’t bother refining that potential a fully formed story. As for the Blu-ray, it looks and sounds great. If you are going to see THE UNBORN, then Blu-ray is definitely the best way to do it.



The Unborn [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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