Bornless Ones | Film Review

Ever go to a restaurant and see something on the menu that you know you love when you’ve had it elsewhere? You get excited, and you know that if there is something that can’t be screwed up, it’s that one thing because you’ve loved it before. Then initial moment which alerts you to the idea that this is not going to be exciting or fun, and though you may want to take it back, the meal isn’t bad enough to make you stop. That is the flavor you’ll consume with Bornless Ones.  

With the help of her friends, Emily (Margaret Judson) moves to a remote home to take better care of her brother, Zack (Michael Johnston), who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. What they don’t know is this house kept a terrible secret that will haunt them, one-by-one.

Let’s dig into this story a bit. The caretaker of a person with palsy moves him out to the woods to take better care of him. All right, so part of the reason for this is because the hospital she is about to have him committed to is also out in the middle…. Let me stop there, the hospital is something we never see, so I can’t attest to where it is.  However, if we go back to the root of the issue, a sick person’s caretaker thought a remote cabin was a good idea. It’s such an odd story point, it’s as if the writer thought that every other reason to go out to a house in the middle of nowhere was exhausted and played out, so he decided to make it something new and fresh. It is weird and I spent maybe too much time trying to reconcile the idea that I would never consider taking someone who would need medical attention to a place where ambulances would have to off-road to get even there.

All right, so while everyone is out in the middle of the woods in this cabin, demons who have the power to heal the sick and injured – so long as they are allowed to possess them – run amuck. Ok, I just read that aloud to myself a few times and I have to admit, it’s not a bad idea . It actually has a lot of potential. It’s possible they pushed the base story much further out than it needed to be. Maybe if the brother was just a paraplegic or quadriplegic (I know, I used “Just” for two serious conditions but they aren’t CP), it would have made it easier to buy into the story.

In the third act they miss a stellar opportunity to ramp up the camp. There’s chaos everywhere, there is demon fighting, but everyone is taking it way too seriously. This would have been a great time to take pages out from gems like Evil Dead or Cabin in the Woods, and there were a few instances when I believed that the actors were about to commit to being campy, yet ultimately fell so short of it. They just completely whiffed it. The moments flew right passed everyone involved without acknowledging that things are crazy, without winking at the camera, without going over -the-top.   

I would normally go into how each of the actors did, but really I don’t think it’s necessary in this case. They were just fine, they may have done everything they could with the direction they were given and the script they had to work with. Could a group of more seasoned actors  have turned this into a great film? Possibly, they also may have been able to see what they were working with and made better choices. Ultimately though, director Alexander Babaev’s vision was incomplete. Every angle was not considered. It is almost as if he had the recipe in front of him … but he missed the seasoning to make something great.

Ever go to a restaurant and see something on the menu that you know you love when you've had it elsewhere? You get excited, and you know that if there is something that can’t be screwed up, it’s that one thing because you've loved it before. Then initial moment which alerts you…

Hollywood Outsider Review Score

Bornless Ones is a missed opportunity - 3

3

The film struggles to find its footing as it revisits a common horror setting.

Bornless Ones is now available on VOD
Starring Margaret Judson, Devin Goodsell, Michael Johnston
Written by Alexander Babaev
Directed by Alexander Babaev

About John Davenport

Movies and television have always been a big source of inspiration and escape in my life. As an awkward kid a lot of my days were spent drawing and watching whatever could take me on a great adventure on my TV. I graduated from Ringling School of Art and Design in 2003 with my degree in Illustration, and was able to participate in the production of a film providing initial concept and character designs. Though my focus in illustration is different today I still look to movies for inspiration and escape. When I look at movies I also pay as much attention to the visual elements in the story as I do the actors on screen. A good movie uses every tool to tell its story.