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First Born (2007)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Isaac Webb

Starring:
Elisabeth Shue/Laura
Steven Mackintosh/Steven
Kathleen Chalfant/Mrs. Kasperian
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Lonely Laura (Shue) is traumatized after delivering her first child via a C-section (yuck). Once the brat born, she's plagued with a heavy dose of Postpartum Stress (Super PMS as I like to call it) which launches the poor dame into the mouth of nuttiness. Yeah...having kids is such a "beautiful" thing...yeah...RIGHT! F*ck that stuff!
THE LOWDOWN

Don't buy into the misleading The Omen-ish (or is it an alien) DVD cover art for FIRST BORN or its shitty tagline "Stay away from the baby" for that matter. FIRST BORN is not THAT film. There's nothing demonic or supernatural within its story; think more an effort that's along the lines of Roman Polanski's REPULSION. I was initially gonna skip on this rambunctious, diaper abusing toddler, thinking it was yet another STD (no not the sexual transmitted disease) cheapie. But a bud of mine told me that "I had to see it". So see it I did and love it I did!

If I ever needed another excuse as to why "I shouldn't have kids"; this film just gave it to me. More ammo in my "no kids for Arrow gun" for future conflicts! Thanks! You see the months of neurotic behavior, zero sex drive and food splurging your gal will experience isn't all you might have to suffer through by default gents. Once the baby is born, your better half can also actually lose her freaking marbles; never to be found again! YEESH! FIRST BORN slyly used the true life psychological condition that is Postpartum Stress (Just ask Brooke Shields and Tom Cruise, they know all about it) as the spring board for its horror; and what a novel idea that was! I personally have never seen the theme addressed in a genre flick before, yet alone handled in such a powerful manner. It was about time!

What followed was a evenly paced, refreshingly restraint yet bleakly atmospheric, often eerie and definitely creepy exercise in one's gradual descent into lunacy. This flick put me through the barbed-wired ringer via slipping me within Laura's slippery slippers hence having me seeing and experiencing the sordid unraveling of events through her demented eyes. Ya ever wanted to know what it would like to be a crazy chick that just popped one out of the oven? Your wish is my command! SEE THIS FILM! Ever wanted to bang three bi-chicks at the same time? Your wish is my command! But it will cost ya...he he he! Got side tracked there, sorry about that, must be spring fever springing in my chinos, back to the film! Elisabeth Shue's astounding performance lent a helping back-hand as to this this bad-girl's  impact as well. The dame was incredibly credible, intense and endearingly vulnerable. I was right there with her the whole way and by result the insanity that befell her whooped me silly and stupid. Yes...I cared about the character and I kept getting the urge to hug her (the striking melons resting snuggly in her top also influenced that thought but that's another story). You see I am a softy!

Granted one subplot (missing girl) was too vague and went nowhere. Some fleshing out would've been nice. And if the flick was playing a mind-game on me here; it mucked that too as not once did I doubt what was going on. The surprises were mucho seldom for an opus of this type. Even the film's red herrings let me down! They were so see-through; that I couldn't call them red herrings; just oddball happenings. And the same went for the (love it or hate it...I loved it) ending which I called out an hour before it kicked in. So was it predictable within its subgenre? Damn straight! Thankfully the film's efficiency on pretty much every other plane made up for its boo-boos. I was on the edge of my Bic razor for the most part and when the cap-off kicked in; it was in such an abrupt and mean spirited fashion that I still got uppercut to the mat with teeth tumbling out my mouth. Now that's talent!

Film's like this always begs the question: how the f*ck can turds like When a Stranger Calls and Stay Alive see the big screen while a little gem like this gets the dump treatment? Blows my mind! Then again, I should get a life! I say; do yourself a favor and adopt this FIRST BORN (did I just write that, wow); she'll piss in your ear, cry all night and when she's fifteen tell you to go f*ck yourself when you won't lend her the car, but at the end of it....she's still worth it! AHHHHH!

GORE
Not much of it here! We get a scalpel slice on a belly and cuts & bruises. The film is psychological not "gorealical".
ACTING
Elisabeth Shue (Laura) was the film and she carried it like a pro with her visceral, emotional, gripping and believable performance. I hadn't seen the lady onscreen since her stint in Leaving Las Vegas. This film remained me of what a great actress she is. I want more Shue! Steven Mackintosh (Steven) lent Shue able support as the affable husband without A CLUE! Kathleen Chalfant (Mrs. Kasperian) nailed the ambiguous nature of the role and put out a focused display; one grounded in stillness. She so worked!
T & A
Is it me or did Elisabeth Shue's cans get bigger! Either way great cans! I'm there with bells on!
DIRECTING
I had never heard of Isaac Webb before but will now keep tabs on the dude after this meticulously shot (loved the attention to details), gloomy and top notch executed chiller. No quick cut editing or flashy images here! Old school was the word and "thanks" was my word!
SOUNDTRACK
We get a sinister, mostly piano oriented score that fit the film's distressing aura perfectly.
BOTTOM LINE

It’s "Adventures in Babyspitttin!" Fairly distinctive, guttural, clipped paced, expertly acted (Shue owned this one!) and handled in an old-fashioned way; FIRST BORN gave me a buck and half off moody and unnerving entertainment. And it finished me off with a big and much appreciated F.U. to boot! Sure; more bombshells throughout and a less straight forward approach as to the game it was playing would’ve been swell; but to be honest; that didn't grate me much. I was way too busy being pummeled by the warped get-downs to give a hoot or a nanny. Don't let this one slip you by guys and dolls! It’s worth the time and the bucks!

BULL'S EYE
Elisabeth Shue became everybody's crush in the 80's with films like Cocktail (1988), Adventures in Babysitting (1987) and The Karate Kid (1984).

The film was shot in New York City and New Jersey.

Director Isaac Webb only has one other director credit for the documentary DESIRE (which he tackled with Julie Gustafson)
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11:50AM on 04/16/2007

No sir, I didn't like it

Normally, I trust Arrow's judgment, and will definitely continue to do so, as I agree more often than not. But here I can't disagree more. I will say that the actors gave an admirable show, but I didn't like any of the characters except for the nanny. I also felt that the 'missing girl' sub-plot was just tacked on in a lame attempt to make things "spookier". Watch this film only as a form of birth control.
Normally, I trust Arrow's judgment, and will definitely continue to do so, as I agree more often than not. But here I can't disagree more. I will say that the actors gave an admirable show, but I didn't like any of the characters except for the nanny. I also felt that the 'missing girl' sub-plot was just tacked on in a lame attempt to make things "spookier". Watch this film only as a form of birth control.
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2:05AM on 04/09/2007

agreed

Saw this and it looked like another hole blockbuster had to fill so i shyed away.Being an avid Arrow/JoBlo site regular i noticed Arrows approval, i usually trust his judgement, so i picked it up. Reminded me at first of the Omen mixed in with Rosemarys baby , had little hints and occasions where those influences poped up. Great work by Shue and the nanny(Kathleen Chalfant) was in fine form as well. The ending was unforseen to me and put a little smile on my face. A little slow at first but
Saw this and it looked like another hole blockbuster had to fill so i shyed away.Being an avid Arrow/JoBlo site regular i noticed Arrows approval, i usually trust his judgement, so i picked it up. Reminded me at first of the Omen mixed in with Rosemarys baby , had little hints and occasions where those influences poped up. Great work by Shue and the nanny(Kathleen Chalfant) was in fine form as well. The ending was unforseen to me and put a little smile on my face. A little slow at first but picks up nicely, no gore here but thats not what the film was about( the downward spiral of a first time mothers inability to cope with her new life, and a possible haunted house, or is it?) Overall i didnt feel like fast forwarding so thats all right.
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