The Unborn is a 1991 horror film directed by Rodman Flender (Leprechaun 2, Idle Hands, Tales from the Crypt, & Scream TV Series). It was produced by the legendary Roger Corman (Death Race 2000, Piranha, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, Humanoids from the Deep, & Boxcar Bertha). It was written by John Brancato (Watchers II, Mindwarp, The Net, The Game, & Terminator 3/4) & Michael Ferris (Bloodfist II, Surrogates, Catwoman, The Others TV Series, & The Net franchise) under “Henry Dominic”. In 1994, a lower budget sequel was made & got a small release. Gary Numan (From Inside) from the band Cars did the score for this production & he used some of the featured music from The Unborn on albums released later on. Michael R. Smith (The Bikini Carwash Company II) did some additional music for the film.
A married couple Virginia (played by: Brooke Adams from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Dead Zone, Sometimes They Come Back, & Days of Heaven) & Brad Marshall (played by: Jeff Hayenga from And the Band Played On, Memron, Bones, The Blacklist, & Star Trek) have been trying to have children for 5 years now with no luck. They have went through a few miscarriages & mental breakdowns during their struggles. A friend recommends Dr. Richard Meyerling (played by: James Karen from The Return of the Living Dead 1/2, Mulholland Drive, Poltergeist, & Wall Street) who runs a in-vitro fertilization program. They are joined by several others for the experimental trial. At first, everything seems to be going great & a miracle is finally going to happen for these desperate individuals. A few strange events occur & most people around them just think it’s stress getting to the new soon to be mothers. A few of them dig around & investigate Dr. Richard Meyerling’s past. Something isn’t right & these pregnant women don’t know what’s inside them. Their reality becomes a nightmare after the side effects starting becoming worse. Did they sell their soul to the devil for their dream? Can they escape what they have always wanted in life? Nothing is what it seems.
The Unborn managed to do what many films fail at in this genre for me. It generally creeped out me at times & it had some real crazy moments that made me feel uneasy. The science gone wrong theme has been done so many times in horror but this feature manages to put it’s own unique twist on it. It actually feels like it could happen anywhere at anytime in this world. That’s exactly why some of the dark material here had an impact on me compared to similar movies. Rodman Flender took control in theatrical full length feature directing debut. This is one of the best that Roger Corman produced in the 90s. Both Brooke Adams & James Karen really shine in their roles in this. Brooke Adams keeps getting crazier as time goes on with her mental breakdown. It’s a fearless performance that keeps your eyes glue on the screen. James Karen is not your typical villain here & he’s plays it like he doesn’t think he is doing anything wrong. He’s not over the top at all & he’s just trying to help out families that are struggling to have kids. I like characters like that & sometimes it’s hard to see them as the bad guy with that type of delivery. The special effects were really good for the production’s low budget & they are effective during their scenes. I am probably one of the few people to say this but I’d watch this over Rosemary’s Baby anytime! It’s much more entertaining & the replay value is definitely better here. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Scream Factory! This 1080p (1.85:1) is a new 2K scan from the original film elements. You can throw out that old DVD because this blu ray release is best that this has ever looked on home video & it’s definitely an upgrade compared to any previous release. There’s a few moments when the quality changes a little but nothing crazy or real distracting. The English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA track is very clean & elevates all the suspenseful moments here. The score from Gary Numan sounds great here & it adds to the creepy atmosphere. I wish he did more stuff like this in films because it really works on The Unborn & it has it’s own vibe. It also has English subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features on this disc. “Audio Commentary” with director Rodman Flender & filmmaker Adam Simon. They talk about the cast especially Brooke Adams & James Karen. Rodman Flender says this was his first big opportunity in the movie industry. He chats about working with Roger Corman & tells a story why he’s uncredited on this production. He mentions that Roger Corman had an exclusive distribution deal with MGM/UA for all his titles at the time under his label. He wanted to branch out a little bit & do some different things so he created Califilm to work with other distributors for various features. He couldn’t have his name on these films or they would end up at MGM/UA. Adam Simon seems to have forgotten that he had a cameo in this & he starts to joke about it. He brings up some of the work he’s done. They say this was more aimed at the Child’s Play & It’s Alive audience rather than Rosemary’s Baby. Rodman Flender brings up that one of his crew members in a later film said this feature made her never had kids. Both of them have some great memories & things to say about The Unborn. It’s a entertaining track & keeps at a good pace. Last but not least, you get the “Theatrical Trailer”. It’s available everywhere, check it out!!!!