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The Unborn (2003)

DVD Cover (Tokyo Shock)
Director:
Bhandit Thongdee Bhandit Thongdee
Starring:
Inthira Charoenpura Inthira Charoenpura
Prangthong Changthom Prangthong Changthom
Karunpon Thieansuwan Karunpon Thieansuwan
Aranya Namwong Aranya Namwong
Voravit Keawpet Voravit Keawpet

5.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Supernatural Horror
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Review by Chad
Added: December 23, 2005
Porawee (Intira Jaroenpura), or better known as Por to her friends, is somehow involved in the drug business. The full details of the situation aren't disclosed to us watching at home (and nor are they necessary), but the gist of things is that her drug-supplier Ord suspects that she is stealing drugs from him. When he confronts Por about this, things get heated, and Ord proceeds to beat the living hell out of the poor girl. As if that wasn't bad enough, he decides that throwing her in the nearby swamp after finishing his beat-down is the best course of action, and he then proceeds to leave the scene.

We then cut over to the local hospital where Por is now residing. A fisherman found her body, rescued her, and brought her to this hospital so that she could get checked out and such. The lead doctor of this place, Dr. Rudee (Aranya Namwong), finds out about Por's drug-usage, and she also finds out that Por is ten weeks pregnant... a fact that Por herself was not aware of. Por decides that an abortion is the best route to take in this situation as she feels that she is not fit to raise a child, but things get a bit odd as she prepares to go through with these plans... and the oddness comes in the form of a spooky young girl named Mai (Prangthong Changdham). With only her drug counselor Pat (Krunphol Tiansuwan) to turn to, Por must figure out why this ghost has all of a sudden decided to haunt her... and considering the fact that Pat thinks that she's on drugs again and is hallucinating, getting to the bottom of this isn't going to be easy.

Anyone who has been on the Internet in the last few years (which I'm assuming is at least a good portion of you readers, seeings as how you're reading this) has more than likely seen the cover of this movie without knowing where it came from. You see, that cover was stripped of all its credits and circulated in an email chain-letter. Sure, it's a spooky picture and all, but you have to admit that a DVD cover being circulated as a legit ghost sighting is pretty damned funny. Regardless, it showed up in my inbox one day, so I tracked it down and found out about this movie, and a short time later, the Thai release of the DVD was sitting on my desk. So, how'd it fare?

While I found that the long-haired, ghostly female protagonist started to get worn out ages ago, I can overlook that. As I've mentioned in previous reviews, this image of ghosts is pretty ingrained into Asian culture, so it's to be expected that it would show up in a fair number of films. Therefore, I have no problems with that, and I've pretty much come to expect it from the grand majority of my foreign horror flicks. Your mileage may vary, however.

With that aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. The storyline is, in typical Asian fashion, intricate and quite hard to follow up until the end sequences where everything clicks together. Hints are dropped and clues are revealed as the movie progresses, but personally, I wasn't able to put anything together until the last twenty minutes (give or take) of the film when everything came together and connected the pieces together. There's also a number of plot twists to be found as the movie progresses, and everything that is featured here is pretty original. I realize that the above synopsis and the title of the film would lead you to believe one thing about the motivations of the ghost, but trust me when I say that that is extremely far from the way things actually turn out. All in all, the storyline side of things is excellent, and will definitely leave you guessing up until the very end.

Storyline aside, the best thing about this movie is the overall look of things. I'm not talking about the look of the ghost herself, as although the makeup job does look pretty good, it was really nothing special when compared to the slew of other black-haired ghosts floating around in J-Horror land. The "look" that I'm referring to here isn't cheesy CGI effects or gore sequences, but instead, the way that the scenes are shot and the way that various colors are used so prominently throughout the film in order to set the tone. It would be fairly difficult to choose one such scene to give you readers an example of what I'm talking about, as all of the particularly good ones are found in scenes which, if explained, would spoil chunks of the movie. So, I'm not going to describe any of these, but take my word on it... the visuals in this movie are gorgeous, and even if the movie itself had sucked, I would have given a couple of points in my final rating for the visuals alone. My hat is definitely tipped to director Bhandit Thongdee, as he has put together one of the most visually-pleasing films that I've seen this year.

Yes, I would have given this movie at least an average rating for the direction alone had it turned out to be an otherwise lame movie. But thankfully, the movie itself was great. Fans of J-Horror who haven't grown tired of those spooky little girls should definitely give this one some love... it's leagues better than Ringu or any of the other more popular releases from the Far East. 9/10.
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