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Unborn II, The (1994)

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Score: 5/10

Genre: Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 24 min.

Release Date: April 20th, 1994 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Rick Jacobson Actors: Michele Greene, Robin Curtis, Scott Valentine, Carole Ita White, Brittney Powell, Leonard O. Turner, Anneliza Scott, Michael McDonald, Sheila Travis

I

t’s amazing that a sequel to “The Unborn” was ever made, considering how much it borrowed from other more popular, more successful movies (at one point, it was marketed as “Baby Blood II,” to capitalize on “The Evil Within,” which was retitled “Baby Blood” for its video release). Inspirations such as “Child’s Play” and “It’s Alive” did, however, gain multi-film franchises, despite their follow-ups gradually resembling the shoddiness of this Roger Corman production. Here, the absurdity witnessed in the 1991 original is doubled for this sequel: the plot is even more ludicrous, the acting is equally as hokey, the hideous baby prop got uglier, and the slayings are just as laugh-out-loud funny. “The Unborn II” is pure, flawed schlock, but it’s actually quite entertaining; it’s a cheesy, obscure B-movie that uncommonly lives up to the ridiculousness of its predecessor.

The opening scene involves a shocking child execution at gunpoint as Linda Holt (Robin Curtis) continues on a serial killing spree, crossing off the names of her infant victims. While her actions appear abhorrent, she has a specific mission of redemption and revenge. After blowing away a baby point blank at a maternity ward (followed by an unlikely gunfight with security guards, accompanied by the screams of dozens of babies in the same nursery), Linda goes in search of Catherine Moore’s child, Joey.

Catherine (Michele Greene) is a writer who just moved into a new home with her super smart, horrifically deformed six-month-old baby Joey. Little does she know, Linda was also a patient of Dr. Meyerling – a crazed scientist who conducted genetic experiments with the hopes of creating a race of superior beings – and that her child Joey is an extremely intelligent, murderous mutant mastermind who has been brainwashing her into doing its bidding. Nosey neighbors, a careless babysitter, child protective services, and more threaten to uncover the secrets of Joey’s existence – leading to a bloodbath no one can escape.

The Joey doll has become even more visually disturbing than the plastic babies used in the first film; it’s regularly slimy, covered in blood, and emits guttural cries. Unfortunately, it’s just as recognizable as an electronic puppet-like prop. There are a few surprises, however, even if the story is full of holes. Friendly neighbor John (Scott Valentine) presents the biggest mystery, though Catherine’s survival skills are also highly questionable. Through the course of the film, she falls through a ceiling, down a staircase twice, and physically battles the cunning baby – all while nursing a bullet wound and neck and leg injuries. She continues to get up, barely flinching, and certainly unable to waste a moment to dust herself off. Perhaps even more comical is the close-quarters shootout in Catherine’s kitchen, in which dozens of bullets are discharged and no one is hit.

The camera frequently spins around and quickly cuts to front angles and back shots of the characters, allowing for Joey to keep jumping out at opportune moments. The scares are rarely sincere, but decent suspense is hinted at a handful of times. Many segments make absolutely no sense, accommodating for struggling moments of terror – Catherine is left to clean up a bloody murder scene in her own home while waiting for Joey to reappear, and CPS agents cautiously enter her home as if they were a bomb squad looking for explosives (surely they didn’t know the child was a superhuman killer when they were called in).

Curiously, “The Unborn II” is set up for a third part when Linda’s hit list includes one more name below Catherine’s. But a final part to the potential trilogy was never made (despite these projects getting churned out on a shoestring budget). It may sound like a complete waste of time, but there is, surprisingly, a reasonable level of trashy fun in this wholly goofy picture.

– Mike Massie

 

 

 



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