Psychological and supernatural terror are tightly intertwined in Still/Born (2017), in which Mary, a young woman, suffers from a pregnancy that results in the stillbirth of one of her twin sons. As she struggles to grow accustomed to motherhood while grieving for the child she has lost, Mary begins to sense a menacing presence surrounding her remaining child. When the otherworldly manifestations grow increasingly violent, Mary fights to maintain her sanity as she attempts to protect her son from a vicious and unpredictable threat.
Still/Born delivers an engaging and well-produced horror experience with its finely-tuned sense of emotion, atmosphere, and timing. The dark and sleek cinematography complements the solid performance of the film’s cast, with Christie Burke (Mary) expertly portraying her character’s evolution from a quiet and unassuming presence to a vivid whirlwind of mounting insanity. The dynamics between Mary and her husband, Jack (Jesse Moss), are layered and authentic as grief and distrust slowly dissolve the strength of their marriage. The illustration of postpartum depression and psychosis as a demonic figure is harrowing and convincing in its despair and intensity, and adds to the surreal and mysterious atmosphere in the film that leaves the viewer unsure of whether or not the danger in the plot is supernatural or imagined. The scares planted throughout the film are also of note, as nearly every moment of fright has purpose and impact.
The only prominent flaw in Still/Born is the absence of originality in the film’s plot. While this, on the whole, doesn’t hinder the effectiveness of the film’s strengths, the storyline’s dependence on generic plot devices prevents Still/Born from reaching its utmost potential.
Overall, Still/Born is an absorbing and entertaining horror film, even though it doesn’t contribute anything dynamic to the genre.