Review: Unborn But Forgotten – Hayanbang (2002)

Directed by: Chang-jae Lim | 95 minutes | horror | Starring: Jun-ho Jeong, Eun-ju Lee, Seong-Yong Kye, Kan-hie Lee, So-yeon Lee, Ji-yeon Myeong

The movie starts with a gruesome scene. A woman is bathing in the blood. A man enters the drab bathroom. All kinds of noises are heard while the woman is tossed back and forth. Then she’s dead.

Several women die during pregnancy. It is a mystery why. When Detective Choi learns about these mysterious cases, he decides to investigate. His girlfriend and journalist Soo-Jin follows him for an article. It soon becomes apparent that all deceased women have clicked on the site of an abortion clinic. All died after clicking on the site. ‘Unborn but Forgotten’ is one of the many variations on ‘The Ring’ (2002) or ‘Ringu’ (1998). Is it a videotape in ‘The Ring’ that brings death? Pity. A lost videotape is always more mysterious than a site on the Internet. By the way, ‘Unborn But Forgotten’ is the international title. The original name of the movie is ‘Hayanbang’.

The atmosphere of the film is very good. Chilly, gray, simple. No exaggerated horror effects, no women running up the stairs screaming. Definitely not an American film. ‘Unborn But Forgotten’ is a South Korean film. Films that seem to be receiving more and more interest, probably because of the simple but effective way of filming. The story of ‘Unborn But Forgotten’ may be unoriginal and unrealistic, but the actors come across as credible. Too bad that some characters are not worked out in more detail. It is also unfortunate that it is not clear what exactly is going on between the two main characters.

Director Lim Chang-Jae, who makes his directorial debut with this film, manages to create a grim atmosphere with black and white images, bright white rooms and beautiful angles. Too bad the story is so incredibly slow. Probably that’s why the movie isn’t really scary. Some films get their strength from this, but a horror must have a very good story if the film is to remain exciting at such a slow pace. What the director does succeed in is creating a lack of clarity. The main characters satisfactorily unravel a number of mysteries, but enough questions remain for a second part.

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