Sunday, January 29, 2017
Bornless Ones (2017)
DIRECTOR: Alexander Babaev
WRITER: Alexander Babaev
With the help of her two friends, Emily, and her boyfriend, Jesse have just purchased a remote cabin in the woods so they can take care of her younger brother, Zach who suffers from Cerebral Palsy. As they begin exploring the cabin, they start to notice the strange religious icons on all of the boarded-up windows. Once the group removes all the symbols, they begin to experience something far worse than they could have ever imagined. Dark forces start to take possession of the group of friends.
Here we have another 2017 horror film that I had no idea even existed. I decided to watch it after I realised it was released earlier this month. Going into the movie, I had no idea what to expect as I hadn't seen a trailer or any clips for the film. I was going in blind and ready to enjoy the movie. Did things turn out that way? Sadly, no. It's a movie that has its moments, but it, unfortunately, can't entirely escape that feeling that we've seen this all before. I think this is going to get a lot of comparisons to another specific 'cabin in the woods' film.
Immediately after the Bornless Ones had finished, my first thought was that director Alexander Babaev must be a massive fan of the Evil Dead series. This movie feels so similar at times to both Sam Raimi's original masterpiece and even the Fede Alvarez's remake that I couldn't help but think that Alexander may have grown up or even has an attachment to the Evil Dead franchise. His own film feels like it borrows heavily or plays like an almost homage to those movies depending on who you end up asking after they've seen this film.
What the Bornless Ones does differently in it's set up in getting the characters to our cabin in the woods is that instead of it being a vacation or a group of friends trying to ween a character off drugs. This group are trying to take care of the main characters younger brothers who suffers from Cerebral Palsy. They have purchased this cabin as they want to be able to have a bigger place for her disabled brother. I think the setup is probably the best element of the story as it sort of grounds the first act of the film in reality before all hell breaks loose.
I also found that I actually enjoyed this group of characters in the earlier stages. The film also delivers the jokes swiftly. We also get quite a sweet bond between this group of friends. I enjoyed the hardship of taking care of the disabled teenager also loomed over the characters in the first act. It sort of lends the film this moralistic crossroads when the handicapped character is possessed by demons but should all of the other characters kill him when bad stuff starts to happen? With all of the characters already bickering over the hardship of taking care of him, is it easier to just end his suffering? I thought that was a nice touch.
The film on a violence and carnage level will keep horror fans happy. This is bloody. Is it Fede Alvarez 'Evil Dead' gory? No, but this movie has enough blood and carnage to keep this horror fan happy. The film does really shy away from any of the nasty stuff. A scene where a female character kills her unborn child is some pretty ugly stuff as is the constant onslaught of characters who have been possessed who end up stabbing and maiming each other beyond recognition. It very much reminded me of the type of carnage that Fede Alvarez was going for with his remake, just on a lower budget.
What Bornless Ones does wrong is that this movie builds to a third act and has about eight false endings. Just when you think the character has ended this night of horror, a character jumps up and proceeds to beat and attack the surviving character who you think has just been killed off. This happens so many times that by the third or fourth time, I was over it. I just wanted the film to end at this point. It also doesn't help that these false endings which drag on and on making this very short hour and twenty minutes feel like a three-hour film.
Another thing that didn't work for me was the creature design and effects. I get that this movie is low budget and I admire them for trying but halfway through the film when the characters start getting possessed by these demons, we have a scene with smoke-like humanoid creatures. They dispatch of one character outside the cabin but are never really seen or heard from again. It feels like it has no connection to these demonic creatures that possess the characters inside the cabin which basically just look like deadites. We also have some exposition early on about symbols on all the boarded up windows that are revealed to be protective symbols to keep bad things out, this was also extremely predictable.
Lastly, the acting in the movie is pretty decent. I think the entire cast worked well together. I believed that these four people were actual friends. The chemistry worked for the most part. My biggest issue with the performances is our main star, Margaret Judson. I think at times because her character is dealing with a disabled brother, her character becomes a little tiring. She seems to whinge for the sake of it but never try to do anything about it. This falls back on the way the character is written I'm sure. The cast works, though even with this fault.
DEATH TOLL: 6
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A woman is stabbed in the neck.
- A child stabs herself in the stomach.
- Both mother and daughter are killed by a shotgun blast.
- A guy is consumed by a smoke monster and killed.
- A woman cuts her unborn baby out of her stomach.
- Someone is repeatedly hit with a log of wood.
- A fire poker to the neck, stomach, and head.
- Someone is stabbed in the eye with a screwdriver.
- Someone is stuck in the head with a screwdriver.
- A fetus is shown wrapped in plastic and covered in blood.
- Someone drills a plank of wood into the leg so they can stand.
- Someone is stabbed in the stomach.
- Someone is smacked in the head with a plank of wood with a nail in it.
- A doctor is stabbed with a pen.
- A woman is stuck in the stomach.
- A bloody demon bursts out of a bag.
The Bornless Ones is a movie that falls just short for me. The film has it's moments, though. We have some solid gore and violence. The cast of characters, for the most part, are pretty likable and the movie is quite funny in the first act. The movie has problems, though. We have a pretty predictable reveal, the movie also feels long for it's short running time and the film has about eight false endings. It seems to never want to end. I think many people will compare this movie to Evil Dead as it feels very similar in parts.