The Unborn

I knew that Hollywood's Kabbalah fad would come back to haunt us, but this is ridiculous. Ancient Talmudic myth, urban legends and some truly crappy CGI ghouls get funneled through the B-horror movie meat grinder, the result's a fairly unappetizing, nonkosher cinema ham salad. Ann Arbor native David S. Goyer specializes in comic book and horror scripts, with big hits (The Dark Knight) and big misses (Jumper), but as a director he's 0 for 4, with this latest effort being the rare movie that can rightfully be called an abortion.

It's also rare in its use of Jewish folklore as a basis for horror — aside from the Golem, there aren't many examples — but in every other respect it hews so closely to horror flick orthodoxy that it feels glued and assembled from pre-molded parts.

Oette Yustman plays Casey, the lead hottie victim who when not plagued by nightmares about masked pit bulls and buried fetuses, likes to spend as much time as possible creeping around her massive townhouse wearing the world's tiniest white cotton panties. Her amazing ass is the film's best effect.

Nocturnal terrors turn real while she's babysitting a creepy little kid with an oversized melon, who promptly freaks out, hits her in the face with a mirror and declares: "Jumby wants to be born now."

This assault leaves Casey with a cool and Bowie-like different colored eye, but also sends her on a supernatural scavenger hunt, picking up clues about what's bedeviling her. It turns out that "Jumby" is the haunted spirit of her unborn twin, possessed by a malevolent Hebrew demon called a Dybbuk, which was summoned by Nazi geneticists at Auschwitz and manifested in modern Chicago due to a family curse, now attempting to use Casey as a portal to the realm of the living. Or something like that.

The Unborn's such a jumble of half-assed ideas, goofy effects and hoary cliches — as if it's Goyer's audition reel for the Scary Movie franchise. How else to explain Gary Oldman slumming as a ghost-busting rabbi, blowing on a giant shofar that looks like Elton John's bong? Or that all the black people are but fodder, like lovely Idris Elba as a friendly basketball-playing exorcist? Aw ... back to the incubator.

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].

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