REVIEW: Bornless Ones
– By Stephen Harper
*Contains Minor Spoilers*
From a personal point of view the best horror films are the ones that build tension, suspense and character development before taking aim and hitting you directly in the popsicles. For some bizarre reason Bornless Ones decided it was a good idea to show what we’re dealing with right from the off!
The film opens in a cabin in the woods. An injured mother, shotgun in hand, participates in dialogue with her possessed daughter. The whole scene seemed very unnecessary with its positioning and not at all scary, which is a darn shame.
After the opening titles splash up we switch to two couples of twenty-somethings traveling up through the remote hills, as they’re helping friends Emily and Jesse move into their new home, which includes Emily’s severely disabled brother Zak. The house is in the back of beyond as per-usual and after a stop off at a creepy gas station, that again seemed totally unnecessary, the five arrive at their destination (yep, the same creepy ass cabin).
Once settling in and laying Zak to bed the group indulge in a night of drinking, until they uncover strange satanic markings etched throughout the house. Clearly freaked out by the dark symbols that apparently aren’t some sort of trendy decor, the foursome decide to retire for the evening and remove the artwork the following morning. Unknown to them, whilst laying in bed, Zak is overcome by a presence that overtakes his crippled body.
The next morning to everyone’s amazement Zak has stood up straight and is beginning to walk. Obviously bemused by the miracle Emily calls a doctor to examine her brother, and once arriving and listening to Zak’s heart, he too is freaked out – not only by Zak’s improved health but also the strange noise he hears through his stethoscope. Wanting to take Zak to hospital to do further tests, and seeing fame and fortune on the horizon due to his miraculous recovery, the doctor sets off with Zak, leaving the four (and a very reluctant Emily) on their own.
The film now hits its best pace. As more symbols are uncovered and strange figures spotted lurking in the forest surrounding the cabin, the evil forces begin their onslaught. Picking and possessing one by one in various gruesome ways, it’s during this period I sat up and took notice. Once Zak returns the horror is in full flow and at its most enjoyable. Unfortunately it’s all a little too late as the film is now at its climax.
There’s a lot to like about Bornless Ones. The film is very well made indeed. It looks good, has a very attractive cast and tries to tread similar beats to keep the horror fans happy, but it has some major problems and unfortunately they’re glaring.
The tone of the movie and its setting is nothing new. I’m not sure if it were intended, but it’s basically a rehash of Evil Dead, but more the Fede Alvarez version. Although the cackles and demon characteristics are definitely Raimi inspired. I have no problem whatsoever with films being inspired by classics and wanting to do something similar, the problem here is it doesn’t feel like a nod or homage to those movies, but more of ‘let’s just make the same movie and reference it differently’.
Like I said previously, the opening of the movie needn’t be there. Removing its first segment would have done this film wonders, and also the gas station scene, as we’ve seen it numerous times.
It hurts me to be harsh as there’s a decent film within Bornless Ones. The production values and quality of cast are very good, but they just deserved a better script. Fine tuning elements so that they’re not too blatant and predictable would have helped immensely.
I can see Bornless Ones doing quite well as it strikes the right chords with a lot of the horror fans of today, but for the hardened horror aficionados out there it’s simply a case of ‘seen it all before’.