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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Review: The Unborn (2020)

Director: Tal Lazar
Screenplay: Danny Matier
Year: 2020

Two security guards work their last shift in an abandoned factory that is scheduled to be demolished. During this last night shift unexplainable things start happening around the building and both start looking for the reason this is happening. What starts as a few alarms going off around the building keeps taking a more sinister way that leads both of them to believe that all of it is the product of a supernatural force that inhabits the place.

For most of the movie we only have two characters, Tiffany and Joey, interpreted by Manni L. Pérez and Chris Bellant (“Loserville”), who are the two security guards in charge of the building. Tiffany is pregnant and still struggling with the idea of being a mother, while Joey is secretly in love with Tiffany. Both of them are able to carry the weight of the movie with good acting that matches the tone of the movie and making the chemistry among them credible.

While they are on their shift both guards start hearing and seeing strange stuff that leads them to think that there is something strange going on that is more dangerous than someone breaking in to steal or do a prank. In this, the director Tal Lazar does a great job in his debut establishing a tense atmosphere only with the use of lights and shadows and the beaten-down look of the place. The movie keeps the viewer uncomfortable and on the lookout for what will happen next, a feeling that is enhanced in the second half and complemented with unnerving and effective visuals. 

“The Unborn” has a runtime of about 70 minutes, which were not well used. The script of Danny Matier (“Punishment”) during the first half puts the security guards to roam around the building searching for the reason why the alarms are being set off and exploring the relationship between both and is not until the second half where things start happening. As a consequence, both halves have contrasting rhythms where the first half is too slow and the events that take place on the second one lacks some information to justify them. 

A better balance would have been to shorten the time dedicated to establish the relationship of the protagonists and extend what is done during the second half, which is much more effective and where more background could have been added that would help explain what happens and the reason for it. Probably this was a budget limitation, but I think that the available resources could have been used better. For example, there are some good special effects moments, but they have a short duration onscreen and the movie would have benefited from showing more of these effects. 

“The Unborn” has a very good second half but suffers from a slow first half and of not knowing how to make the best out of its potential and leaving too many ideas half-baked. Its budget could have been a limitation, but still, more could have been done with what they have. The atmosphere is its best ally and the terror bits together with the special effects are great and deserved to be showcased more.

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