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Review: THE UNBORN (2020)

The Unborn is a well-used title, the first film bearing it dates back to 1916. I remember driving through a snowstorm to see the 1991 one with Brooke Adams at the theatre. The plot of a couple of security guards alone in a large, creepy and haunted building is equally well-used. Now cinematographer turned director Tal Lazar (Close Range, The Perfect House) and writer Danny Matier (Punishment) combine the two. Is the result worthwhile, or just a double dose of clichés?

Tiffany (Manni L. Perez) has just found out she’s pregnant. She hasn’t even had a chance to tell her boyfriend Henry (Clifton Samuels) before a casual comment to a co-worker reveals his feelings about fatherhood. This plays on her mind as she starts her last shift as security at an old factory scheduled for demolition in the morning. It’s just her and co-worker Joey (Chris Bellant, Living with the Dead: A Love Story) who has a crush on her and is doing a bad job of hiding it.

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A broken security seal triggers an alarm. When Joey investigates instead of an empty room, he finds one with fetuses in jars. He doesn’t see the shadowy figure in the back of the room though. Not to worry, Dr. Thatcher (Brian David Tracy, Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel, Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire) is about to make his presence known.

For most of its length, The Unborn is a two-character film. Thankfully, Perez and Bellant are up to the task and can sell the chemistry between their characters. And that’s crucial because he has to be convincing as someone who’ll risk his life for the woman he loves. Even if she not only loves somebody else but is carrying their child. And he manages not to seem pathetic doing so.

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Lazar makes good use of his background as a cinematographer to make the empty factory as creepy as possible. The script tells us early in the going that something in the building has an evil intent before slowly rolling out the details. This lets The Unborn ramp up the creepiness, as we know something is going on, but we can’t tell just what.

And then in the last half, the pieces start falling into place, sort of. The biggest issue I had with The Unborn is, while we get an idea of what is going on, a lot of the how and why is very vague. A bit more detail would have been helpful.

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Granted, it could also have done with a better, and more original, ending. But overall, The Unborn is a creepy and effective way to pass seventy minutes. The Unborn is available on DVD and digital from Freestyle Digital Media.

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