The Devil Within Her
Review by Thomas Scalzo
Posted on 06 October 2004
features: October: 31 Days of Horror
After-hours at the strip club, Hercules, the stage-dancing dwarf, makes an awkward, and unsuccessful, pass at one of the girls. Not a man to handle rejection well, he forthwith pronounces a curse upon the object of his desire, declaring that she will soon become pregnant, and bear a child possessed by the devil. When the prophecy comes to pass, Hercules channels his still-smoldering rage through the devil-baby, imbuing the newborn with but one purpose, to destroy its mother and anyone that gets in the way.
With such a plot at his fingertips, director Peter Sasdy was no doubt met with conflicting thoughts on how to tell the tale of I Don’t Want to Be Born; whether to craft a serious, yet potentially boring, film detailing the ins and outs of infantile demonic possession, or to make a fun movie about an evil baby that kills people. A difficult decision to be sure. Thankfully, at least for those of us who prefer our tales of supernatural malevolence rife with gratuitous gore, Sasdy chose to eschew lengthy existentialist diatribes in favor of depicting the spawn of Satan acting out its nefarious designs.
Thus, while I Don’t Want to Be Born breaks no new ground in the understanding of evil, and draws few conclusions in the age-old debate of science versus religion (save Donald Pleasance as the logical doctor suffering the illuminating rejoinder, “You would not have made a very good nun”), it does deliver several unforgettable scenarios, including evil baby dragging corpse, evil baby shoving woman into lake, and evil baby wielding shovel with intent to decapitate. Sasdy’s competent handling of these scenes, coupled with the unprecedented curse-of-the-sexually-frustrated-dwarf storyline, and the enjoyable overacting of both Joan Collins and Pleasence, recommend I Don’t Want to Be Born as a worthwhile UK horror offering.