A young woman is haunted by a dybbuk, a malicious spirit that appears as a demonic boy. Yes, it’s a Jewish take on The Exorcist.
A theologian might be able to pronounce on the Jewish exorcism ritual at the climax of writer-director David S Goyer’s shocker. For mere movie-goers, however, The Unborn is actually little more than a routine scaremonger decorated with Judaism to imbue its standard shockmaking with a “serious” element.
After being terrifyingly haunted by the dybbuk, learning her twin brother died in the womb and told about the horrors of Auschwitz by her Holocaust survivor grandmother, Sofi (Jane Alexander), Casey (Odette Yustman) seeks out Rabbi Sendak (Gary Oldman) to terminate her terror.
There are just about enough scares along the way to keep horror-flick aficionados watching, and the exorcism itself is suitably gaudy. That said, however, The Unborn is a very ordinary example of perhaps the most resilient movie genre. At least, as the end-credits tell us: “No actual Torah scrolls were destroyed or damaged in the making of this motion picture.” Very reassuring.