Content and anything else…
Casey Beldon could barely be much happier – if there weren’t these nightmares where besides all kinds of bizarre animals again and again a pale little boy with weird eyes appears. Good for her that her best friend is well versed in occult myths and can give her helpfully advices. Bingo, visited grandma in the nursing home and we now all know: The disaster all began in Auschwitz with the giving birth to Dybbuk who now gets ready to reincarnate…..
So much for that…I don’t want to spoil the mystery fan’s excitement. But the above short try of a summary is sufficient, the essence is completely grasped. Here we have an occult horror flick from the drawing-board leering with more than one eye towards Japan and trying to transfer the atmosphere of appropriate Asian ghost-thrillers into a pure US production. I dare say this completely went wrong. Because to all technical perfection belongs an exciting story which may be even comes up with some surprise effects. Certainly it mustn’t plausible – that already avoid the nature of this genre – but David S. Goyer (script & directing) has nothing realized. Instead of creating out of the approach of an aborted pregnancy a nice ghost-thriller with family skeletons in the closet, he presents us a demonic roundabout with Hebrew background and even with its origin in the concentration camp. This is pushing my button, faithfully. Furthermore all characters stay pale and meaningless. Even Odette Yustman (TRANSFORMERS, CLOVERFIELD) in the leading role – blessed with plenty of screen time – doesn’t manage not for a second to develop a spark of sympathy for her character. Her fellow, Cam Giganet (who gave a good performance in NEVER BACK DOWN and therefore always remembered) is also staid as the wasted Gary Oldman (who for the most part may say some Hebrew sentences). All other actors are reduced to give hints and dying extras. But it is solely Goyer’s fault! With his screen-plays for BLADE 1-3 or the storylines for the last BATMAN vehicles and DARK CITY he is well known by the movie fans and has proved there that he can do better. But here, he totally failed. Technically there is nothing at all to complain about: The camera captures gloomy scenarios, the CGI effects are brilliant and the cut matches. But UNBORN is a perfect indicative for the merit of a good screen-play. As a final conclusion I can state: for teenagers below the age of 16 a reasonable snack because they might not have seen so many similar movies than some other moviegoers. And for the rest – wasted time!
With an estimated budget of 16 Million $ the movie had box-office takings of 42 Million $ in the US and therefore estimated as success. After reviewing the movie the expert has the impression that the PG 13 was focused on right from the beginning by the executive producers, very fast cut and relatively bloodless this movie comes up. Also any kind of lovey-dovey was avoided. But because meanwhile it has become state of the art that the adult viewer is also addressed an unrated version has been produced for the home theater market. As expected this isn’t more brutal but features in the most cases more single frames. Three or four additional – but expendable – scenes and the cover get decorated with the message “too shocking for theaters!". The good news: both versions can be found on the other hand sparely equipped US DVD (WS 2.40, 3 sound and subtitle tracks, only bonus the deleted scenes)!
Compared has been the rated PG-13 theatrical version to the unrated with the following differences:
The night after having seen the doctor. In the unrated version there are some scenes of the coitus. In the rated PG version the conversation starts already in the previous take of the outside view of the house, in the unrated version during one of the harmless sex scenes.
PG: ca. 7 sec.
UR: ca. 15,5 sec.
Total difference = ( 8,5 sec. )
A nightmare. When Jumpy rips Casey’s abdomen open it’s only in the unrated where he puts his hand in the opening.
( 1,5 sec. )
Casey at Sofi Kozma. Sofi tells the sory of the Dybbuks. The sentence "It takes time for it do make its way from the other side" is identical in both versions. In the rated PG version it lapidary ends with: "...and when it arrives here, it's weak."
On the other hand in the unrated version Sofi tells much more accompanied by flashbacks of Casey’s experiences: "It enters our world in stages. Always it inhabits the helpless creatures first, from insect to animal, slowly making its way up the ladder of life forms. But a twin is what it most desires." With Casey’s question "How do I stop it?" both versions again run synchronical.
PG: ca. 2 Sec.
UR: ca. 12 Sec.
Total difference = ( 10 Sek. )
After Romy’s visit Casey sleeps and has a nightmare. Now there are oodles of alternative settings whereas the theatrical version runs a little longer. In the rated PG the view onto Casey is faded to a black frame followed by some takes of the inside hospital. In the unrated there are childhood memories followed by takes of the hospital. The rrom door is opened differently, Casey approaches her mother. In the rated PG version she’s an adult, in the unrated version she’s a child.
PG: ca. 34 sec.
UR: ca. 29,5 sec.
Total difference + PG= ( 4,5 sec. )
The pan-shot onto the mother is included in both versions however it’s faded out a little earlier in the unrated version. Again there is used alternative material. But only two different takes as well as two more minimal cut different. Ther is no runtime difference.
The view on monster Matty’s face starts earlier in the unrated version when he takes the knife.
( 14 SF )
And this take runs very little longer.
( 5 SF )
Also shortened by one third ist he take when the obsessed Matty turns to Casey and Mark.
( 7 SF )
In the end the take of the quivering Romy begins a little earlier in the unrated version.
( 1 sec. )
The Gathering at the gym. It is only in the unrated version where Arthur still has to resolve some formalities: "Yeah. Yeah, but before we get startet, there's a few formalities that we have to get out of the way. Can I see your IDs, please? I gotta verify that you're of legal age to consent to this." Casey: "All right", Mark: "You kidding?" - again Arthur: "No. Not kidding. These are the forms, actually. I don't know if they're legally binding, but we're in murky waters here, just in case something does go wrong." With Casey’s question when it will begin both version the run again syncronical however due to alignment reasons there is a front view of Casey in the rated PG version.
Total difference = ( 36 sec. )
Exorcism - a minimal extended view of a demonic grimace.
( 4 SF )
Two succeeded takes of the grimace are extended.
( 10 SF )
An additional close-up of a volunteer who transforms.
( 1 sec. )
Alternative take when she gets folded. Actually the rated PG version here runs a little longer.
Total difference + PG= ( 11 SF )
A short take where the stretcher flies through the air onto an escaping volunteer.
( 14 SF )
Demon Arthur hits mark one more time into his face.
( 16 SF )
Demon Mark strangles Casey a little longer.
( 29 SF )
Casey’s face in a close-up runs longer as well as the counter cut onto monster Mark.
( 13 SF )
When Casey drives the amulet into his throat and he then tosses her onto the floor there is one additional take in the unrated respectively in the rated PG an alternative harmless take. No running time difference.