David Goyer’s latest film, “The Unborn,” follows a young girl fighting an ancient, deadly spirit that wants to overtake her body . But it’s Goyer himself who seems possessed these days, excited beyond measure about the trailer for his next leap into horror, which you can view exclusively here on MTV News.
With the trailer playing in front of him, we went through the footage shot by shot to find out what some of the images and themes mean for the work as a whole. Read below to find out what we discovered.
-2:22 to -2:15: Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman) reclines on a couch, trying to relax while talking on the phone.
Suddenly, a strange voice comes from the baby monitor. It sounds foreign … or backward?
“It is backwards,” Goyer explained, “but not a backwards loop. We figured out what it would sound like backwards and had the young actor record a bunch of lines like that. We did a lot of that in this movie, not only with dialogue but also with music. Like, originally we had these women sing the notes that are supposed to be the theme in normal fashion, and then we just said, ’Screw that!’ So what I had them do, we had our composer write the notes backwards, and then they sang them backwards and then we played them backwards so that they’re forwards. Does that make sense? The end result is that if you’re speaking English or singing, you can recognize the theme, but it’s got this different quality, because like the inhalations and the exhalations are backwards.”
Is the boy possessed?
“Yes,” Goyer said. “The idea of a dybbuk is that there’s an entity of spirit that’s trying to find a human body where it can fully live. It’s been caught in between the worlds, and it’s got its eyes set on our lead, Casey, but it sort of attempts any point in the storm to get in a couple of other bodies intermittently in this sort of way up the ladder towards her. It actually gets into a number of people and animals and things like that over the course of the movie.”
-1:55: Casey’s eyes suddenly change colors, a condition she thinks is benign but quickly leads to troubling discoveries.
“She was born brown-eyed, and then she developed this true sort of medical situation called heterochromia. Some people are born that way, but in vary rare occasions, you can develop it in the middle of your life. That was sort of the starting point for this,” Goyer said. “Normally, heterochromia can be one of the primary reasons for this thing called genetic mosaicism — that’s all true. Sometimes placentas will become fused, and sometimes chromosomes from one of the twins will sort of get into one of the other twins, and that’s something that medically happens. That’s what leads her to suspect, ’Wait a minute, maybe I wasn’t an only child.’ ”
-1:20: Casey screams in anguish and terror, but no sound is heard. She is seen watching herself from the ceiling.
“Silence can be really scary. That’s something that happens a lot in dreams,” Goyer said. “I actually got the idea for this nightmare from … a Jewish prayer, where real Orthodox Jews believe that when they sleep, their souls actually leave their bodies, and what you do is, when you wake up — and one of the characters does it in the movie — you say a prayer to thank God for not letting something unwanted enter your body while you were awake. So they view anytime you go to sleep is potentially a place where you’re very vulnerable. I thought that would be really scary.”
“I employed color theory in this movie so that the color blue — anytime she’s wearing that color, it’s significant, and anytime that specific red shows up on her from the ceiling, it’s significant as well. It shows up in all sorts of different ways in the production design,” Goyer said. “The blue is what we call ’Barto Blue.’ That’s the name of the little boy, actually. And it’s actually the color of his eyes. So anytime that color shows up in the movie, it means the spirit is around, whether he’s onscreen or not. That red links to one of the other characters, played by Jane Alexander, named Sophie, and I don’t want to fully give away what that red color is. It’s a good game for people.”
-:57: A monster of some sort walks up a staircase, twisting his head.
“That’s a f—ed up image. I love that image!” Goyer enthused. “We call him the Twisted Old Man pursuing one of the characters, and so what they did is, it’s actually a contortionist wearing an upside-down mask of this other character. The shot was supposed to be crawling towards us as the camera’s pulling back at the same time. So what we did was we actually had him crawl backwards and had the camera chase him, and then we reversed it all. That’s what you see in the trailer.”
-:46: Surrounded by Gary Oldman and others, Casey straps herself to a gurney, agreeing to an exorcism. The lights flare bright and then extinguish.
“The idea with the spirit is, although this is never explicitly stated in the film, it’s that when the spirit is around, the lights fluctuate,” Goyer revealed. “I just want to point out, the reason I like that [overhead] shot is because we are shooting anamorphic, and if you look at that shot, you’ll see that it’s an eye. She forms the pupil, and there’s this circle of 10 people around her, and they form the iris, and the frame itself is the horizontal field of the eye. The eyes are the window to the soul, and the eye is the way she first feels the effect of the dybbuk trying to come into her.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Unborn.”
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