A creepy kid, a lissome brunette, Nazis, a dog with an upside-down head and Jews! The Unborn's got 'em all! This latest movie from prolific filmmaker David Goyer--he provided the story for The Dark Knight and wrote and directed Blade: Trinity, among other movies--goes straight for the horror jugular with a story of unborn twins, hauntings, family curses and a Jewish exorcism rite.
Starring Odette Yustman, Meagan Good, Cam Gigandet and Gary Oldman, The Unborn is the tale of one woman's survival as she fights a family curse and struggles to shut a doorway from beyond our world that has been pried open by someone who was never born. The Unborn opens Jan. 9.
Goyer sat down exclusively with SCI FI Wire last month to talk about the movie. Following is an edited version of that interview.
Are you prepared for people to call it a Jewish Exorcist?
Goyer: (Smiles) If it works, sure, why not? You know?
I know a lot of the stuff in the movie is true. The Book of Mirrors, is that a real thing?
Goyer: Well, it's, it's based on sort of an amalgam of Kabbalah books. There was sort of a Book of Shadows and a couple of things, but ... the actual text and the cover and everything like that was based on real books. So it sort of combined two or three books.
And is there really a Jewish rite of exorcism?
Goyer: Yes. ... And that's it. ... The exorcism in the movie is based on an account of an actual 17th-century Jewish exorcism.
OK. How did that one work out?
Goyer: Not well. The patient died. Yeah. But it's funny, because you read these accounts. ... I mean, the funny thing is the tradition of exorcisms actually comes from the Jewish tradition. ... It pre-dates Christianity by thousands and thousands of years.
Was it actually demonic possession, or was it something else?
Goyer: There was two kinds. There was demonic possession--they did believe in demons that had never been human--but then the dybbuk is sort of a uniquely ... Jewish thing, which is the idea of a soul that had been evicted that was looking for a new body.
There was some interesting stuff out of Jewish medieval folklore, like the idea of a golem, an animated being created from inanimate matter.
Goyer: Yeah. ... I keep joking that if we do a sequel, I have to put the golem in it. Cool. ...
You're still working on an new take on The Invisible Man?
Goyer: In The Unborn there's a little homage--you can see in the background, she's watching a movie at the beginning of the film--and it's actually the old Universal Invisible Man. So hopefully that's a little future nod to myself. So we'll see. They like the concept a lot. They haven't read the script yet. ... I don't know. I'm pretty happy with it, I think it's a fun script.
What is the concept?
Goyer: ... It's the nephew of the original one, and he sort of perfects the process. And then Scotland Yard ends up getting ahold of him. And they kind of have two choices: Try to kind of vivisect him and figure out what makes him tick, or they decide to opt for Plan B, which is they turn him into a secret agent. So they send him into Imperial Russia, because a sort of war is starting to brew between England and Imperial Russia. ...
This is 1900, this is literally, sort of the end of the Victorian age. ... It takes place in England, Persia and Russia. ...
And it'll have that feel, that kind of steampunk, Rudyard Kipling feel?
Goyer: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I'm a big fan of all those Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and things like that, and I love steampunk. I don't think it's been done particularly well in film yet, but I'm a big fan of it.