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Case Number 16648

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Born

Lionsgate // 2009 // 107 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 19th, 2009

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All Rise...

When Judge David Johnson was in the womb, doctors thought he was a demon spawn. He wasn't.

The Charge

Bun in the oven.

Opening Statement

This film poses the eternal question: what would life be like, if you got knocked up with demon spawn?

Facts of the Case

Mary Elizabeth (Alison Brie) lives a secluded life with her Puritanical, overbearing sister, until one morning she wakes up 15 pounds heavier and oozing acid from her nipples. Turns out the demon version of her brother impregnated her with his Hell-seed. It's a way for him to get out of Hell, a deal offered by Satan himself. All that needs to happen is for Mary Elizabeth to kill six people and eat their internal organs, then squeeze out the little demon bastard.

The Evidence

If you're craving a dose of Satanic horror, there's a shot Born might have some value. While not even sniffing around the territory of classic status, the film features enough devilish tomfoolery to at least escape a quick dismissal.

Here's what director Richard Friedman and his crew handle well: eerie Satanism and bloodshed. Both of these elements are in abundance, from crudely drawn Pentagrams on the floor with decapitated heads at each point, to Mary Elizabeth chowing down on human hearts. As an added bonus, you get a special guest appearance by the Lord of Darkness himself. And that's not all! There's also a Clandestine Super Agent Hitman from the Catholic Church running around on a pre-natal, anti-Satan special mission.

Where things start to unravel is the climax, a tediously drawn-out affair which grinds the narrative down to a stumble. Once the story shifts into Devil Ceremony mode, as Mary Elizabeth and her diabolical cohorts prepare to birth the demon child, the film becomes a soggy, talky affair. Even some character twists and a semi-nifty resolution to the church hitman story isn't enough to dislodge the storytelling from its lethargy. Also, Alison Brie is pretty cringeworthy.

The worst is when the filmmakers unwisely utilize some awful looking CGI for shots of the demon baby in the womb. I know it may have been a slightly large cost to go with a practical puppet, but the pay-off would have been a lot better. The computer effects are just laughable in their shoddiness and lame enough to rip you right out of what little suspension of disbelief you had managed to build up.

The DVD is simple, but decent. A solid 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 surround mix are joined by a standard-issue making-of featurette.

Closing Statement

It's touch-and-go and the final thirty minutes seizes up, but there's just enough B-movie goofiness to prevent Born from being tossed into the Crap Movie Foster Home.

The Verdict

Guilty, but it's only banished to the second level of Hell.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 80
Audio: 80
Extras: 75
Acting: 65
Story: 65
Judgment: 66

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• Spanish
Running Time: 107 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R
Genre:
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurette

Accomplices

• IMDb








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