Directed and written by David S. Goyer, “The Unborn” (2009) is about a young woman who is fighting an evil spirit that is trying to possess her. Starring Odette Annabelle, Gary Oldman, Idris Elba and Atticus Shaffer (that weird kid from “Malcolm in the Middle”). Not to be confused with the Roger Corman Unborn movies from the 1980s.
Casey Beldon (Odette Annabelle aka Odette Yustman) has been having nightmares and hallucinations of an evil kid with bright blue eyes and a dog wearing a mask, but not at the same time. The kid and the dog don’t interact or anything. But it would’ve been cool if they had.
She’s babysitting her neighbor’s kids, Matty and his little brother, and hears strange voices on a baby monitor. When she goes to check on the baby she finds him showing his baby brother his reflection in a hand mirror. He then smashes the mirror on Casey’s head and says “Jumby wants to be born now.”
Casey’s friend Romy tells her of a superstition that newborns should not see their reflections in the mirror for at least a year or they will die.
Strange noises start coming from her bathroom one day. She goes to check and there’s nothing there. The next day when making breakfast for herself as she opens an egg a bug comes out of it. Gross.
Casey continues to have visions of the ghost kid. One day her friend Romy tells her that her eyes are changing color. So Casey goes to the doctor, whom asks her if she was a twin, since what she has, Heterochromia sometimes happens to twins.
One day after hearing noises in her bathroom she goes to check and after opening the cabinet a second time the evil ghost kid appears and scares her.
I should mention that this movie talks about dybbuks, which in Jewish Mythology are spirits that cannot enter heaven and are stuck in the afterlife so they look for living people to use as hosts. It leaves the host body after it has accomplished its goal; sometimes it will leave after it is helped in some way. So in this case the evil spirit wants to possess Casey or her unborn baby.
Fun Fact: Dybbuk is a Yiddish word, coming from the Hebrew word that means to cling or adhere to something. They are evil or malicious spirits that possess people and are thought to be a dislocated soul of a deceased person. It does this to achieve a goal, or resolve a problem that wasn’t fixed before they died. Once it is helped, the dybbuk moves on.
A dybbuk box is a wooden wine cabinet that is supposedly haunted by a dybbuk. It is a part of modern American folk lore, when one was sold on Ebay. Don’t buy it, or it will make you lose your hair and cough up blood and stuff.
Casey’s father admits that she was a twin but her brother died in the womb; her umbilical cord strangled him. He was nicknamed Jumby by her mother, so she thinks that the spirit haunting her is her dead brother.
It seems Casey’s mom Janet, has visited Sofi Kozma, a Holocaust survivor. When she goes to visit her and shows her the picture of the evil kid reflected in the mirror she flips out. Never a good sign.
While out at a night club with a friend, Casey goes to the bathroom and has a hallucination of waves of bugs. That same night, a ghost kid touches her stomach and opens it.
Sofi calls Casey and tells her that her mother visited her once, then narrates the story of her, and her brother, who were experimented on by Nazis in a concentration camp.
A dybbuk brought her brother back to life as he was used as a portal into the world of the living. Sofi killed her twin to stop the spirit and now it haunts her family for revenge.
SPOILER ALERT! Sofi is Casey’s grandmother.
Casey’s mother became insane when the evil spirit tried to possess her unborn child, Jumby, whom turns out to be Casey’s twin brother. *gasp*
Sofi mentions that twins are mirrors or doorways into other worlds. Then she instructs Casey to destroy her mirrors and burn the shards, and go to the Rabbi Joseph Sendak to get him to perform a Jewish exorcism to remove the dybbuk from her soul.
Casey goes to the library and checks out The Book of Mirrors with an exorcism ritual in it. (How convenient!)
She leaves the book with the Rabbi for him to translate it (even though he doesn’t believe her) and goes on her way to continue to have more hallucinations of unborn babies and kids popping out of medicine cabinets.
At the Old Folk’s Home, Sofi is attacked by a possessed Eli (one of the people that lives there with her). His head is turned upside down and he walks like a spider!
She hides in a closet, where the dybbuk kills her. Fortunately, Sofi left a letter to Casey telling her it is up to her to stop the evil spirit.
One night, while Rabbi Sendak is translating the power goes out and he sees a dog with its head twisted upside down in the synagogue.
Romy talks with Casey, as she leaves to answer the door, Casey sees the image of the evil ghost kid at Romy’s place. She goest there to help but it’s too late. Matty is possessed by the dybbuk and stabs Romy and kills her.
Casey and her boyfriend Mark see the spirit when they arrive at Romy’s house after she’s attacked, so the Rabbi agrees to help her and asks for the help of an Episcopal priest named Arthur Wyndham, and some other random volunteers help and they begin the exorcism.
At the beginning, the exorcism fails, several of the volunteers are attacked or killed. Then the spirit possesses the priest and chases Casey and Mark. Mark knocks Wyndham unconscious and is in turn possessed by the dybbuk. Casey stabs Mark with the amulet Sofi gave her. It is called the Hamsa Amulet. Hamsa is the symbol used to protect against the Evil Eye. It’s a hand with an eye in the center.
Fortunately Dracula, erm… Rabbi Sendak arrives and helps Casey finish the exorcism, but they can’t save Mark in the process and he dies.
After mourning her boyfriend, Casey finds that she’s pregnant with twins! DUN DUN DUUUUN!!!!
The soundtrack was composed by Ramin Djawadi. He did the music for “Iron Man”, and more recently composed the score for “Pacific Rim” and “Dracula Untold.”
Does the music fit the film?
Well, at times it does. There are other times when it’s not used at all and sounds are used, like doors creaking among other things.