FirstBorn, from Nirpal Bhogal, is a moody, slow burn movie about a young couple, their first child, and them being plagued by ghost stuff. For years and years, apparently.

I can’t tell if I love or hate FirstBorn.

The first ten minutes is this slow, drawn-out sequence of a young couple on a night out, learning they’re expecting a baby, and then returning home to I don’t know what. But the girl goes to the bathroom, the light pops, and then the door closes, trapping her in the dark with a weird sound and something clawing at her uterus from the outside? I’m not quite sure. And then it just jumps ahead to when the baby is born. And it’s all cute and lovely till a creepy old woman gets to talking creepy with the new father.

I guess it sort of works?

FirstBorn isn’t scary so much as it is a little weird. If anything, it comes across as more this quaint, slow slice-of-life drama about two young parents. It’s charming, actually. I love the chemistry between Antonia Thomas and Luke Norris. But it’s not all that interesting. And it’s definitely not scary.

I’m not sure the movie knows who it’s for, or what sort of story it wants to tell.

This is a 90 minute movie that carries on as if it’s got two-and-a-half hours to tell this deeper story about a young family tortured by evil spirits. But it has an hour less than it thinks it does. And that makes me wonder when it just gives up on either the family dynamic or the horror stuff. There’s just no time for it to effectively tell the story it clearly wants to tell. And I don’t think it’s worth investing anymore time into a movie that unfortunately telegraphs it’ll be cutting things short.

Maybe the rest is worth the watch. I hope someone lets me know if they decide to take the dive. I don’t know. But despite me liking what I saw upfront, that short runtime and glacial pacing is raising a lot of red flags for me.

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