Friday, September 25, 2009

The Unborn - Bad Movie Night Review

First off, what is a "Bad Movie Night Review?" Well, the idea of watching a crappy movie on purpose is nothing new. Mystery Science Theater 3000 made hours of TV based on the notion, but the average everyday person just doesn't have the time or the patience to sit something like that out. There also comes the issue of needing to have people to watch it with, because watching a crappy movie is just no fun alone. In fact, it becomes a little bit depressing. So as a way to start tabulating which movies are the most fun and entertaining to watch in a negatively ironic fashion, I've started watching bad movies with a few friends over at a time. This will help you out when you decide to have a "Bad Movie Night" of your own, saving you time from getting the movies that are TOO bad to even enjoy making fun of, or just not bad enough.

First, you get the snacks and drinks ready, pick a comfy spot on the couch, and have the volume loud. Why? You need to make sure you can still hear the movie over everyone yelling shit at the screen. Remember, the fun comes not in just the sheer assness of the movie, but in the witty banter that will come from you and your friends. Still, you need to be able to follow the plot, so you need to hear the inane dialogue, too.

Now that we've gotten the preparation out of the way, we can talk about the actual movie!
The experience of watching The Unborn is not unlike watching one of those horror scene reels you might see playing in the background of a bar or theme restaurant around Halloween. Clichés, tropes, stereotypes, and those oh-so predictable moments spew out at you in quick succession. In fact, just seeing the loop play on the Blu-ray menu before even getting to the start of the film made us all laugh. Instantly I had realized that I had made the right choice for the night.

The film opens with Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman) running along a wet road in the winter. She finds a small blue glove, kneels down to pick it up, and turns to see a creepy kid with pale eyes. Then, in a flash, he's a dog with a papier-mâché human mask. She turns to the forrest to run into it, finds the mask on the floor, picks it up and notices it is stuck to something. She pulls it up and starts digging and finds a fetus in a jar. Most people would probably be freaked out by that, but she only gets freaked out when it opens it's eyes. Oh noes! And they are the creepy pale blue ones that the kid had! Ahhh! And the glove was pale blue too! CRAZY!

Sounds like it would be a dream sequence right? It was. We find this out because Casey is telling her friend the whole story while she babysits for this little ugly turd of a kid and a baby. She hears something on the baby monitor, goes up to check on it and fug-boy is there holding up a mirror to the baby's face. He then hits Casey in the face with the mirror and says "Jumby wants to be born now." The whole thing had me laughing pretty damn hard, and I think the punchline was simply "Jumby," Really, what the hell kind of name is that? The best part was that it allowed me to make some "Jumby and Pokey" jokes later on in the film.

There are tons of other things like this in the movie, where just when you think it is going to go legit it goes back into cheese territory. Odette actually doesn't suck as an actress, so it never becomes impossible to watch, but the bad writing and directing from David S. Goyer are the real stars of this movie. Even Gary Oldman gives up on being Jewish once his turn comes in to be the Rabbi. The stock Marilyn Manson music video "spooky" stuff never scares, and the things that are supposed to be creepy are things you've seen before in a thousand other movies. The combination of them all in one movie means you get to poke tons of fun at them this time around, and never be angry about it. Remember, you're watching it from the comfort of your own living room, without an 11 dollar ticket price.

By the time you're halfway through the film you've pretty much figured everything else out, and someone is going to make some ridiculous joke that turns out to be true. Those are the moments you'll cherish the most. When a movie dares to be bad enough to deliver your punchline for you it almost makes it impossible to think that Goyer and Platinum Dunes really thought this was genuinely scary. I figure what we've learned is that when a writer gets to a point where no one can tell him no, he can push one out like The Unborn and you have to let him direct it. You know exactly who to blame off the bat. Though, really, I'd thank him. As "Bad Movie Night" goes, The Unborn is tons of fun with the right crowd.

Movie Grade: C
Bad Movie Night Grade*: B

*BMNG Scale

  • A: Instantly quotable, terrible, laughable, and re-watchable.
  • B: Not the best of the worst, but pretty damn fun with some beer.
  • C: You'll want to fast forward through some of it, but there are worthy moments.
  • D: Either so bad that it is too bad to enjoy or not quite bad enough.
  • F: The F ain't for fun. Skip this one. Boring, impossible to enjoy, or actually Oscar worthy.

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