Director David Goyer delivers a movie that isn't as good as the trailer in The Unborn

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Don't judge David S. Goyer on The Unborn. And certainly don't pre-judge him on what he's going to do with the Magneto story when he writes and directs X-Men Origins: Magneto. He was, after all, part of the brilliant team of minds that came up with the story for last two Batman movies.

(But then again, he was responsible for directing The Invisible and writing Jumper, so maybe he should be judged on missed opportunities of a cool premise that result in yawner movies.)

Beautiful Odette Yustman, who was stunning even while running away from the monster in Cloverfield, is running a lot again in this movie. She plays Casey, who is first seen jogging in the snow and then stops when she sees a blue mitten, then a creepy-eyed boy, then a growling dog, so she runs off the path and into the woods. Don't go in the woods! Then, she stops at an even creepier mask in the ground and digs it up to see what it's attached to—and it's a fetus in a jar. (Oh, thank goodness, it's only a dream.)

Then we find out that her mother killed herself mysteriously (and she's Carla Gugino, who's no longer the cool mom that she played in the Spy Kids movies), and that she was once a twin (both were twins, the mom and the daughter). All that's already in the trailers—which are much better than the movie. So Casey tells her boyfriend (Cam Gigandet, who should stick to the Twilight franchise) and also asks for help from her best friend (played by Meagan Good, who's the well-meaning black friend, so we know what's going to happen to her!). Then, Casey steals a library book and goes off to find an exorcist, played by Gary Oldman, whose presence in this movie can only be explained by saying that it must have been a favor to Goyer for writing more Commissioner Gordon dialogue into the Batman films.

The whole story takes a bizarre twist when the ghostly apparition is linked to the Holocaust (and that's where a lot of people started leaving the reviewer screening). It gets even more muddled when Casey is chased by dogs with upside-down heads and when paralyzed old people start turning into spiders. Lots of symbolism and mysticism and other horror clichés are stuffed into this turkey, but even the more unique plot twists can be seen barreling toward poor Casey a mile away.

It's lame (and obvious) to say that this movie should never have been born, but maybe in the near future Netflix will purposely mix up the titles and send out the 1991 horror (but very unrelated) Unborn in which you can see Lisa Kudrow as a brunette.