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RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes
• Making of featurette
“Alright, guys, get this. You know the story of the birth of Jesus? Who the fuck doesn’t, right? Anywho, this movie is like that, ONLY JESUS IS EVIL! Yes, that’s fucking right, friends. Isn’t that shit awesome? What? A writer? Man, this shit writes itself.”
Starring Alison Brie, Kane Hodder, Denise Crosby and Joan Severance
Written by Alex D’Lerma
Directed by Richard Friedman
At her mother’s funeral, Mary Elizabeth (Alison Brie) is viciously assaulted by her dead brother, who happens to be a demon now. She doesn’t bother telling anyone this. Goes to sleep and wakes up pregnant with a demon baby that forces her to kill and speak in a silly voice. Tasha Yar plays the sister and once again dies by way of oil monster. Okay, so maybe that last part isn’t true, but it’d be more exciting my way.
There’s this thing called pacing that all movies had. Pacing is either bad or good. ‘Seven Samurai’, for example, has superb pacing. At two and a half hours, it feels short, every scene builds upon the one preceding it and before you know it, the film is over. ‘Born’ runs an hour and forty seven minutes, but I feel like it took days to finally be over. Was it the bad acting? The script that doesn’t even follow its own rules? The middling effects work? Probably all of those things. But mostly, it’s just boring. Born-ing, if you will. And there is no greater sin for a movie than to be boring.
A demon walks into a psychiatrist’s office. I wish that were the set up to a joke, or at least a better movie. A demon going in for a pysch evaluation, that’s kind of cool in a ‘alright, the Sopranos did it better, but it’s still neat’ sort of way. Only, it’s used primarily as a terrible framing device that gives the writer’s two things: a guy to explain shit, in this case Asmodeus (the great Kane Hodder) and two, waste time. From this office a huge twist comes that is both stupid and dumb and makes me want to hit things.
The rest of the film fares no better. The story is convoluted as fuck. Some demon has to rape his sister, so he can be human, but he’s already in human form and so the baby is for Satan and I know it doesn’t sound confusing, but the movie assumes you know what’s going on at all times. The characters are culled from the writer’s guide to 1 dimensional beings. There’s the retired, loving dad who can’t seem to do any right, there’s the horrible sister, the best friend who’s a huge harlot, the creepy helper, the priest with a dark past and of course, the virgin mother. At least that last one has screen time to develop, even if it isn’t very much and most of her character transformation comes from being possessed by a demon baby. This feels like a ‘hey, we got all this money and a free weekend, want to make a movie?’. The acting feels like a one shot, one take deal. If you’re a decent actor, such as Denise Crosby, then you’ll fare pretty well. If you’re not, like Mr. overacting conflicted priest, you’re not getting out of this one alive. Alison Brie is trying and mostly failing. I don’t think it’s her fault entirely, the script calls for her to be boring, neurotic crazy lady and scream a lot most of the time. She does shine when her demon baby is speaking through her. It’s not great acting, it’s somewhat irritating and childish, but she’s able to switch back and forth between frightened mother and hellspawn quite easily. And for that, I am impressed. Everyone else, I can do without. But I understand you kind of need other people to movie the plot along. Or whatever.
The killings are at least interesting. Seeing a cute, sexy (albeit pregnant) girl beheading friends, family and strangers alike is always a good time. And the production designers went suitably over the top and put all of the money into gore, fake blood and prosthetics. It sure as shit didn’t go into CGI or god forbid, a week’s worth of pizza for the writers to clear some shit up, but the gore is alright. Unfortunately, you have to wade through a ton of shit to get to the goods and the film’s brutality really does peak at the first kill, which may not be original, but is kind of cool, and slightly unexpected.
It just drags on and on. Thirty minutes in, nothing’s really happened and you’re begging for the knife. The central concept revolves around Mary having to kill six people in order to feed her baby. She has to do this herself, and yet when the time for the big birthday celebration hits, she’s only actually killed five. But don’t worry, the director makes damn sure not to linger on this fact for too long.
I was watching this with my room-mate’s girlfriend and when it ended, she said, ‘I don’t get it.’ Well, neither do I. ‘Born’ is D-rate horror movie that thinks it’s god (or Satan’s) gift to awesomeness. I mean, it has Kane Hodder playing a demon dressed up as a cardinal! How fucking awesome is that? Answer: not as awesome as it should be. He wears sunglasses the entire time because he doesn’t want to show how much pain he’s in by appearing in this movie. If you pass by ‘Born’ on the DVD shelf at Blockbuster, just keep on walking. And if you really, really want it, send me a private message and I can send it to you. This is one (insert bad abortion joke here).
It’s decent looking enough for your low budget feature. Lacks depth and precise forethought, but it’s ‘movie’ enough. The sound is okay and the music is suitably unsettling but never overpowering. There’s a making of featurette that can help you understand where the creators are coming from.