Review: ‘The Unborn’

Veering wildly from the classy to the trashy, Thai ghost-horror movie "The Unborn" recalls Hong Kong Category III pics from a decade ago but shorn of the latter's more over-the-top moments. Pic was boosted in Thailand this summer by the presence of young actress Inthira Charoenpura. Overseas, this is Asian horror buff vidfare.

Veering wildly from the classy to the trashy — mostly the latter — Thai ghost-horror movie “The Unborn” recalls Hong Kong Category III pics from a decade ago but shorn of the latter’s more over-the-top moments. Released locally under English title “The Mother” but offshore as “The Unborn,” pic was boosted in Thailand this summer by the presence of young actress Inthira Charoenpura, who debuted as the sexy ghost in “Nang Nak” (1999). Overseas, this is Asian horror buff vidfare.

Charoenpura is punkish barmaid Porawee, just out of drug rehab, who’s almost killed by a pusher, Ord (Wannakit Siriput). Waking up in a hospital run by femme doctor Rudi (Aranya Namwong), she’s told she’s 10 weeks pregnant but is otherwise OK. However, when she starts hallucinating about a pregnant teenage ghost (Prangthong Changthom), she uncovers, along with rehab officer Pipat (Karunporn Thieansuwan), a ghastly crime involving suicide, murder and a stolen fetus. Based on a true story, pic has some well-staged shocks in the first act but loses momentum prior to an explanation-heavy finale and overdone coda. Charoenpura makes a rather unsympathetic heroine.

The Unborn

Thailand

Production

A Sahamongkol Film Intl. presentation of a Baa-Ram-Ewe production. (International sales: Golden Network Asia, Hong Kong.) Produced by Prachya Pinkaew, Sukanya Vongsthapat. Executive producer, Somsak Techaratanaprasert. Directed by Bundit Thongdee. Screenplay, Thongdee, Songsak Mongkolthong, Ma-Tam-Nam Team; story, Nuttiya Sirakornwilai.

Crew

Camera (Fujicolor), Surachet Thongmee; editor, Suthiporn Taptim; music, Alphabet Scale; production designer, Dusit Im-Aom; costume designer, Ekasit Meeprasertsagool. Reviewed on videocassette, London, Sept. 25, 2003. Running time: 108 MIN.

With

Inthira Charoenpura, Prangthong Changthom, Karunporn Thieansuwan, Aranya Namwong, Wannakit Siriput, Voravit Keawpet, Intra Werawattanachai, Aumpol Ruttanawong, Inthuorn Thientub, Kusumarl Kumsuwan.
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