In our everyday world of corruption, senseless murder, and misdeeds it’s a wonder horror movies can still scare us to a degree. All we have to do is look at the local news and know that there are some mean, dangerous, crazy people in this life. Because of this most movie goers can’t be frightened in the conventional sense any more, thus horror movies have become a lesson in do’s and don’ts; ‘don’t open that door, don’t go down there alone, and run fool run.’ But filmmakers insist on making them, adding their own little twist to the genre, as in “The Unborn,” twins just happen to be the focus.
“The Unborn” weaves history, religion, and superstition into a bizarre story of twins, a creepy kid, and a young woman who learns she knows very little about who she really is.
Odette Yustman (“Cloverfield,” TV’s “October Road”) stars as Casey Beldon a young college student still grieving over the untimely death of her mother but endeavoring to move on, that is until she starts hearing ‘bumps and bangs’ in the night.
Things start getting progressively worse with frightening dreams added to the mix. Casey readily tells her superstitious best friend Romy played by Meagan Good (“The Love Guru,” “Stomp the Yard”) all the nerve racking details. In one way Good’s character brings hope to the film that Casey (Yustman) will be steered in the right direction by Romy’s (Good) survival instincts in a scary situation. Not only doesn’t she listen to Good, but Good’s character doesn’t even follow her own advice.
Casey turns to the only person she feels can help her, Rabbi Sendak played by Gary Oldman (“The Dark Knight,” “Harry Potter” franchise). He opens her up to a world of evil, ancient and modern day religious practices, not to mention the fact that after his urging she digs into her family history. In the meantime she baby sits for a creepy kid that really is beginning to freak her out and piss her off.
Casey’s father ( James Remar) tells her she’s actually a twin, her brother died at birth. And she learns that her grandmother (Jane Alexander) is still alive in a mental institution.
That’s when she learns about the history of twins in her family and the evil they wrought.
The family curse begins in Nazi Germany. Casey’s grandmother and her twin brother were victims of Dr. Josef Mengele’s experimentation on Jewish twins in the concentrate camps. With the help of Rabbi Sendak (Oldman) Casey learns of a demon, the soul of a dead person that enters the body of a living person and directs the person’s conduct.
This demon has plagued her family for generations and has to be stopped, the question is how?
Writer/Director David S. Goyer (Blade: Trinity, “The Invisible,” “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight”) has a way of looking past the obvious frights and delves deep within the soul where religion and other core belief resides. He likes to challenge the mind, and reveals why we do what we do, and if it’s bad do we have the capacity to change or make changes.
The big question for Casey is can she change a curse that’s plagued her family from generation to generation, and what spiritual powers of today can fight a demon of old.
The Rabbi calls in some heavy weights, including Father Arthur Wyndham played by Idris Elba (“American Gangster,” “Daddy’s Little Girls”) to fight the ancient evil.
As with any horror movie you’ll question this or question that, but the story is a fascinating one that begs the question, can this really happen? And suddenly you begin to look at twins in a whole new light.
“The Unborn” is in theaters Friday.
– Gail Choice can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.