Thursday, June 16, 2011

'Unborn Sins' is a concept that deserved better

Unborn Sins (2005)
Starring: Michelle L. Harris, Sean Contrearas, Jim Barbour, and Paul "PJ" Peneloza
Director: Elliott Eddie
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

A psychic detective (Contrearas) and his partners attempt to stop the deadly rampage of the spirit of an aborted baby (Peneloza) that has been summoned into the world by cultists so it can take revenge on everyone involved it having it aborted, including its would-have-been mother (Harris).

"Unborn Sins" is one of those movies that has an intriguing idea at its heart--what happens to the souls aborted babies?--that deserved a far better execution than the means available to writer/director/producer Eddie Elliot. With decent sound work, decent lighting, better cinematography, better actors, and a script that had been taken through a draft or two more--or perhaps revised by a more experienced writer--this could have been one chilling movie. As it stands, it's a movie that I really wish I could like more than I do, and a movie that I wish could be remade in stronger hands.

Lighting and sound problems aside, the biggest weakness of its film is its running time. There are several scenes that are near-pointless (such as the one where Harris' repulsive boyfriend dances by himself to rap music for what seems like forever, or the basketball game at the park that likewise went on and on and on) and a subplot involving some sort of kidnapping/drug deal that doesn't have anything to do with anything else in the movie, except that the detective agency was somehow involved with that case. If the film had been tightened up from and its running time of nearly two hours shortened to 80 or 90 minutes, I think it might have rated as much as a 4 on its ideas alone.

(The technical problems and the running time aren't the only problems. There's also quite a bit of unintended hilarity in the film, such as when the obnoxious boyfriend is prowling through his apartment trying to look all Gangsta with a gun in each hand, holding them right next to his face. I kept hoping he'd fire, because watching the ejected cartridge smack him in the face would have been very amusing. Similarly, the Big Fight between the heroes and the angry spirit is more ridiculous than suspenseful because everyone starts behaving as if they just escaped from a Kung Fu movie made in 1973. These elements might make the film worthy of inclusion in the line-up for a Bad Movie Night, so long as you keep in mind there will be long stretches of overly padded scenes.)

"Unborn Sins" is one of the most intriguing films I've ever given a low rating to, and I wish I liked it more than I do. As I said at the top, the whole abortion angle is an intriguing jump-off point for a horror film and I wish this had been a more solid film. Therefore, despite its many flaws, I think it might be worth checking out for those who are able to look at low-budget films with kind eyes and forgiving hearts.

"Unborn Sins" is available as part of the inexpensive "Sinister Souls" 6-movie pack, the even-cheaper-by-the-movie "Tomb of Terrors" 50-movie pack, or as a stand-alone DVD. I think you'll find your money better spent if you acquire it along with 5 (or 49!) other low-budget indie movies. I think it's worth seeing, but it's not worth full price.

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