Directed by Chang-jae Lim
Released by Tartan Asia Extreme
Tartan’s doing great things for Asian cinema fans in the States who really want to check out the movies we hear about on other message boards or from friends, but it seems like at times that they’re just scraping the barrel to see what they can get out there. Unborn But Forgotten is almost at the scraping level, though I do give it points for originality in some areas.
As the film opens, we see a pregnant woman in an old-style bathtub, seemingly getting ready to give birth alone. A silent, shadowed man enters the room, and as he approaches the tub, we realize she knows and fears him. Before she can get away, he starts attacking her, and we are left to assume the worst. Cut to a stylish credit sequence.
The story follows cyber cop Lee (Jeong) as he investigates the strange deaths occurring among a seemingly random group of women. Fifteen days after visiting a website, they are dying of very strange causes, namely their uteruses swell rapidly and crush all their internal organs as if they had become suddenly pregnant right before their death, though all the friends of the victims claim that they weren’t even a few weeks pregnant, if at all. A painful, but inventive, way to go, and Lee is stumped as to the cause.
He gets closer to the truth when photojournalist Su-jin (Lee) visits the site herself and suddenly finds herself in a pure white room. She follows a long corridor and ends in another room with a girl cradling a baby at the center of it. As she gets closer she realizes the girl is her, and then she watches herself die. Unsettlingly for anyone, wouldn’t you agree? When she realizes she’s got 15 days to live she ramps up the search for the cause behind this strange curse, and finds it in a recently abandoned apartment that was once home to the woman from the beginning. Things get complicated, but the overall story is something we’ve all seen hundreds of times before in Asian cinema, and I’m very sad to report that the Koreans in specific have become repetitive, ripping off their own ideas and re-using them in slightly different situations. It doesn’t make for the most entertaining ride.
The performances don’t help, as both Jeong and Lee seem like they’re fresh out of acting classes and thrust onto the big screen. A quick check on their careers shows that this is not the case, which is even more of a disappointment. First-time director Lim may be to blame, though he does have a relatively good eye for lighting and shot composition, and there are some genuinely creepy moments throughout. Unfortunately the film as a whole is just plain derivative and dull, though it might serve as a good starting point for those interested in Asian cinema that aren’t sure where to begin. It can only get better from here.
The sound works very well, the 5.1 enhancing some of the creepy visuals and giving life to the score, which is also a bit pedestrian, and the picture quality was pretty much what I expected. In some of the darker areas of the film it tended to get difficult to see what was happening, and I’m not sure if that’s an issue with the way it was shot or the way it was transferred.
Features include an hour-long On The Set featurette, which is literally an hours worth of camcorder footage from the filming of the movie. Those that have read my DVD reviews in the past will remember that I find this to be the worst kind of “special feature”, aside for a photo gallery (which is also included), simply because all it ends up doing is showing just how boring and repetitive it is making a movie. Throw in some interviews or commentary, guys, liven it up a bit.
Other than that there two, two-minute long interviews with the leads, neither of which are all that enlightening, the original theatrical trailer for the film, and a gathering of trailers for other Tartan releases.
It’s just too bad that a company as creative as Tartan and with the resources at their fingertips that they choose to put out pretty much anything that looks even remotely scary, no matter how dull it actually is. However, this is really the first misstep the company’s made since coming over to our shores, so I guess we can forgive ‘em, right? I mean after all, they are putting out Oldboy…
2 ½ out of 5
Discuss Unborn But Forgotten in our forums!
American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review
Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo
Directed by Colin Bemis
Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.
The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.
As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!
Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.
Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.
In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.
On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.
In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.
Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.
Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)
We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.
In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!
If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.
The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, and YouTube.
Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View
Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly
Directed by Marcel Sarmiento
Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as
17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?
What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.
Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?
Join the Box of Dread Mailing List
#Brainwaves Episode 74 Guest Announcement: Creature Designer Mike Hill – The Shape of Water and More!
The Saw Chapter Comes to Dead By Daylight January 23!
Flying Wolf! New Rampage Trailer Swoops In
See What We Do in the Shadows on the Small Screen
Films That Could Exist Within the Cloverfield Universe
Gender Bashing: The Exorcist Series and the Male Body in Possession Horror
Zak Bagans’ Paranormal-Themed Documentary Demon House Acquired: Aiming For March Release
Julie, Sweet Julie: Why Return of the Living Dead 3 Is One of the Most Inventive Sequels Ever
Decade of Horror (2010-2017): What Have We Learned in the Past 7 Years?
Devil’s Tree: Rooted Evil – Exclusive Trailer, Stills, Poster and More
News5 days ago
An Early Draft of Halloween 6 Has Been Released And It’s… Interesting
News4 days ago
The Evil Dead Trilogy Cuts a 72-Minute Super Cut in Black and White
News5 days ago
Universal’s Bride of Frankenstein Reboot Back on Track With Gal Gadot?
News5 days ago
Zac Efron Looks Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile as Ted Bundy
Editorials3 days ago
What’s Next? 5 Horror Trends We Expect Within 5 Years
Reviews5 days ago
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters Review – A Timid Step Towards a Frightening Possibility
News5 days ago
Jigsaw Teased for Dead by Daylight
News5 days ago
Friday the 13th Part 3: In Memoriam Documentary Now Available For Free!