The Unborn Dir. David S. Goyer

[Universal Pictures; 2009]

If you're smart enough to check out Tiny Mix Tapes in the first place, then you don't need me to tell you The Unborn is the first steaming-pile-of-shit film of 2009 (note: I haven't seen Bride Wars). From frat boys waxing poetic on the mysteries of the universe to masturbatory camera shots of scantily clad females to racist stereotypes, The Unborn successfully pulls off the blockbuster horror film formula. But it's also a work of accidental comedic genius, the mother of all guilty pleasures, and it'll give you a better ab workout than ten sessions of 8 Minute Abs. As I sat at the press screening with my fellow reviewers, each person wiping away laugh-induced tears, I actually felt grateful for this craptastic gem. Thank you, David S. Goyer, for satisfying me more than any piece of Oscar meat has done so in the last few months. Thank you for reminding me that sometimes junk food and junk movies are actually good for the soul and that there's something cathartic in laughing at stupidity in all its wide-eyed and big-breasted glory. It was with a smile and an empty box of watermelon-flavored Sour Patch candy that I left the screening of The Unborn.

The film's protagonist, Casey (Odette Yustman, who is better at posing for Maxim spreads than she is at acting), is a skinny Chicago suburbanite who begins having nightmares involving a fossilized fetus, some cracked-out zombie kid, and a dog wearing a party mask (all of this occurs before the 10-minute mark!). Of course, the dreams are just a result of Casey's hormones, as her moronic, chisel-jawed boyfriend so eloquently opines, but then -- oh my gawd! -- Casey's eyes begin to change color and the hallucinations turn to glory holes and cockroaches, causing Casey to seek answers from her Holocaust survivor grandmother (played with plenty of German oomph by Jane Alexander). Granny informs her that Casey's mother committed suicide because an evil spirit was trying to possess her unborn son, Casey's twin brother who died in the womb. The evil spirit also happens to be the grandmother's dead twin brother, who was subjected to a Nazi eugenics experiment involving twins and the alteration of eye color back in Auschwitz. And now the spirit is trying to possess Casey. So Casey orders a Jewish gangbang... er, I mean, exorcism (hey, the ball-gag and video camera threw me off), led by Rabbi Gary Oldman, who looks ready to burst out laughing at any moment. Maybe he lost a bet, maybe he owed Goyer a favor after Batman Begins. Who knows? Anyway, the exorcism is (surprise!) not very successful.

Hollywood is so hot for Holocaust this season that when the zombie kid first appeared onscreen my boyfriend muttered, "Hey, it’s the boy in the stripped pajamas." The Unborn is an Exorcist ripoff, with Judaism taking over the religious reins from Catholicism. And sadly, there's no Friedkin behind the camera or Ellen Burstyn in front of the camera to save us from bad-movie hell. But bad horror movies always have the potential for either comic relief or cult classic status. Give The Unborn 20 years and it may obtain the latter. Otherwise, prepare to find it in the 99¢ bin at Blockbuster.

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