You know, I’m pretty lucky. Not everyone gets to realise what they were put on this Earth for. Sure, the lucky few do. I bet Neil Armstrong must have felt a dawning sense of destiny when he headed out of that shuttle and thought to himself, “I’d better say a few words here.” Or when Gandhi was standing in front of all those people, who would have crystallized it for him, like a voice from within saying, “I knew that cobbling job wasn’t for me.”
Twenty minutes into The Unborn, just after a dissolve from a microscopic view of a patient’s sperm sample to a shot of a plate of peas, and it dawns on me that this is why I’m here. So that no-one else has to watch The Unborn.
So that I can warn people and spare anyone else the ignominious fate of seeing Brooke Adams breastfeed a mutant super genius baby who suddenly stabs her husband in the eye with a knitting needle. Or of having to sit through scenes that make no sense at all: a woman casually eating what looks like a plate of raw meat from her fridge, a dwarf turning up on a skateboard, stopping, and then carrying on his way.
To be fair, that dwarf on a skateboard is probably the most interesting moment in a film so bad it makes Death Wish 3 (a film which has a street thug grab a rubber plunger as his weapon of choice) sound like a good night in. A conveyor belt horror film from the Roger Corman factory line of 1991, The Unborn takes most of its ideas from David Cronenberg’s The Brood, which wasn’t even that good in the first place.
There’s a mad doctor, a couple desperately trying to conceive (Adams and some bearded actor), and the odd worrying sign that not everything is right with the town’s pregnant women. One stabs herself in the belly, another has a really nasty rash on her neck, while one’s going out with Kathy Griffin.
That’s about it. There are some nasty scenes that follow – a woman’s belly going all Cronenberg-ey á la Videodrome, Adams and beardy having sex on a really creaky rocking chair – but this is a horror film that’s grim and depressing not because it’s an effective horror film, but rather because it’s just grim and depressing.
There are a few names littered throughout the crew that make it historically interesting. Wally Pfister, now the regular cinematographer of Christopher Nolan, makes his debut, although he’ll probably leave this one off his CV. The screenwriter “Henry Dominic” is really the writing pair of John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris (behind the last two Terminator instalments), wise enough to hide behind a fake name. And Lisa Kudrow shows up for two minutes as a receptionist who seems far too nice to be working for a mad doctor.
That’s all it’s good for, though. Do something else rather than watch The Unborn. Read a book. Plant a tree. Read a book about planting trees. Better yet, rent or buy Tyson, James Toback’s incredible documentary that came out last year.
You could throw a rock in any video store (including my old local one that used to stock films like Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection) and hit a film that’ll be ten times better than The Unborn, but you may as well aim high and watch something really good.
Just heed my words and stay away from this one. Please.
Thankfully, there’s nothing else to sit through here other than the film. And that’s a very good thing.
The Film:The Disc:
The Unborn will be released on April 5 and can be pre-ordered from the Den Of Geek Store.