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She was battling herself...
deeva_deeva29 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I think that overall this movie was quite well done. Unfortunately for some women, after the birth of their baby they slip into post partum depression, which is not the typical "baby blues".

The scene in the doctor's office was so unsettling, as one could tell that Shue's character wanted to tell the doctor more, but the doctor was scurrying along and didn't give her the time, instead just shoved a prescription into her face. Perhaps if she had been given the time to explain herself more thoroughly, the ending would have been different.

I know it's just a movie, but psychosis is a serious issue and must be dealt with seriously. This woman needed professional help and the doctor turned a blind eye to her dilemma. She told him point blank that she was suffering from anxiety and he didn't do anything about it. Any professional worth their degree would have pointed her in the direction of qualified counselors instantaneously. That's what was unbelievable to me within the scope of the movie.

The acting was phenomenal. Shue was spot on.
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Cooper757 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Laura, a New York City based dancer (Shue) falls pregnant and relocates with her husband to an isolated house in the country. After the child is born, a series of mysterious events conspire to test her abilities as a new mother.

I first heard about this movie around 12 months ago when I happened across an article on the Fox news website. The author had caught a screening of First Born by chance and had raved over the movie, comparing it to 'The Others' and tipping the director Isaac Webb as a name to watch. So here we are 12 months down the line and First Born arrives direct to DVD, which usually is not a good sign. Remembering the article and the positive comments I decided to take a look for myself.

First Born was very good indeed, and after the movie ended I was left stunned for several reasons. Stunned at Shue's amazing performance. Stunned at the sheer horror of the ending. And stunned that First Look dumped this out with the WORST (and most misleading) cover art in the history of the medium. I mean, come on, upside down crosses?!! What Isaac Webb has created (and I'm heading into major spoiler territory here) is a very deliberately paced, intense, and upsetting journey into one woman's descent into madness. Or, more specifically, Postpartum Psychosis.

From reading comments here and on other sites, it appears the general consensus is that viewers have been disappointed by the lack of explanation for certain occurrences in the movie, and the fact that we are given a denouement rooted in 'reality' as opposed to a supernatural explanation. Personally, I blame the marketing. This is a film that is hamstrung by it's awful cover art, attracting viewers expecting a pulpy 'Omen' style horror who then find themselves watching a slow - burn character study / psychological thriller.

This is a movie that demands patience from the viewer. Some have criticized it's lack of answers to certain questions raised, but to my eye the answers are all there. This is a story played out entirely through the eyes of it's protagonist, and viewed in that respect it DOES make sense. We are seeing events from the perspective of a very disturbed mind.

It must be said that Shue is very, VERY good in this role. She sold every aspect of Laura's freefall into madness and was believable at every turn. I usually find her acting style too forced, somewhat 'look at me, I'M ACTING!!', but in this she WAS the character, no question.

I find it strange that some people have accused this movie of being basically a piece of crap with no redeeming features. Obviously everybody is entitled to an opinion, and it wouldn't do if we all thought the same, but to my mind this was WAY better than most direct to DVD stuff. There seemed to be real artistry involved here, from the directing, the performances and even the fantastic score by John Frizzell. Also the ending, though certainly predictable, was both brave and horrifying - qualifying as one of the most downbeat I have seen in quite a while. That in itself sets First Born apart from most theatrical movies, never mind DVD premieres.

If you like a well acted, well directed psychological thriller then look no further. Just don't go expecting a supernatural Satan baby horror, or some such. Those upside down crosses have a lot to answer for.
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Gem of a psychological thriller
celr29 March 2007
First Born is the exploration of the inner world of a woman suffering a postpartum psychosis. This "Yellow Wallpaper" story is definitely not a Lifetime Network sort of film--it's much darker and scarier. It's downright creepy in a very subtle and artful way. After all the gore and explosions of today's thriller genre it's refreshing to see something so subdued and inward while maintaining a such a high level of suspense and desperation.

Elizabeth Shue is a dancer (and yes, she really looks like a dancer) who is stuck in a huge, spacious and mostly empty house in the suburbs while her rich, emotionally disengaged husband works in the city and comes home late at night, leaving her alone during the days with her newborn. Already a bit obsessive-compulsive, she begins to crack up in a serious way. What follows is rendered with impeccable attention to detail and maximum emotional impact. It is a psychological study but at the same time beautifully rendered visually. "First Born" has no didactic ax to grind, no social message, no deus ex machina in the form of social workers or therapists; it's just a fun scary story for intelligent moviegoers.
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I thought the movie was good and DO recommend it.
nightwalker02-11 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I don't exactly understand why most of these reviews say the movie doesn't tell you what's happening. I can see how some people who don't think with an open mind or just have a low attention span and are expecting a Hollywood style horror/thriller movie get disappointed but that's not what this movie was going for.. This movie is as most others who gave it a high rating stated, is meant to be a psychological movie. So Laura sees rats in the house, Steve calls the exterminator who says there are no rats.. I'll admit I don't understand the whole Jenny thing but the voodoo. The older woman (Mrs. Kasperian)said she did some research after she was experiencing a similar anxiety after her first child so the thing under the crib was hers. However, the Mrs. Kasperian wasn't trying to do bad voodoo, you can gather from the character that she knew something was wrong and she did that little thing under the crib to help. Also, you know Laura's going crazy when near the end she sees the mice and tries to 'get the mice off her baby' when her husband Steve looks on the camera there are no mice (the mice are non-existent). Then at the end Laura does bury her baby thinking it was the 'cursed doll'. So, most of the events on the movie are explained and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. If you decide to watch it, I hope you enjoy it too.
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Post Partum to the 10th power!!
MarleighV19 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I don't understand why everyone is complaining. This film set out to creep you out, and it succeeds at that. It's a sad tale of self loathing actually, where a woman knows she is not up to taking care of a baby, especially by herself, but can't seem to ask for help, or when she does, she is dismissed as being overprotective or overreacting. Typical. The mood of the film is dark as is the beautiful house that it takes place in. And the feeling is one of isolation both physically and emotionally. This woman is on her own. Her own mother didn't come to visit because "she hates to fly". Well get a Greyhound ticket and come over. You don't stay away when your child has their first child. With that and a busy husband, you get the sense of this woman's struggle of feeling unfit, wanting to be a good mother but unable to because she can't sleep, she can't eat and when she does try to have a normal existence, she locks herself in the basement and can't feed her newborn baby. She can't even color her hair, something that women do everyday without mishap, but she can't seem to do it. The movie was great. Watch it at night by yourself. Elizabeth Shue's performance is gut-wrenching.
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Gripping right until the end, Then, truly disappointing!
Rick76uk2 January 2007
This must be one of Shue's worst yet, While watching the film I was intrigued by the sheer mystery of the film.

I had no idea or could have guessed what the outcome would be...

And then a truly awful ending which ruined what originally had me gripped.

I only voted four because of my original impression of the film(before Isaw the end) Avoid at all costs!!!!!

Story outline - A dancer (shue) finds she is pregnant, her husband , an up and coming businessman moves them out to a big house to raise their child away from the city, While battling her own depression the lonely house starts to eat away at her , causing a large amount of paranoia, or is it?
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a great movie about nothing
jojomujux20 March 2007
This one was a great movie about nothing, and I mean really nothing. From the beginning till' the end, everything happens has nothing to do with reality(or fiction) and common sense, not even touching common sense. However, I might add that from the "directoral" point of view it is a great achievement to create that much suspense without practically having a story. In the end, I do not regret watching it(we all need to see all kinds of movies to create a real and correct hierarchy in our minds) but I would not recommend it to any of my friends... I hope I didn't offend anyone who reads this, and I apologize for my English. Thank you.
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g404c19 August 2007
I caught First Born on LMN last night. Elisabeth Shue is Laura, a dancer living in New York with her husband, Steven (Steven Mackintosh), a wealthy businessman. When Laura learns she is pregnant, Steven pushes for them to move out of the city to an isolated, gargantuan mansion in the distant suburbs. Once they move in, Steven continues to work in the city, and Laura is left alone in the new home during the day. Not long after settling in, Laura begins experiencing strange occurrences, and she becomes increasingly frightened. Things take a turn for the worse once she gives birth.

This gripping mystery premiered on LMN yesterday, and I enjoyed it very much. Most of the movie keeps the viewer guessing, and the locations only add to the creepy, dark atmosphere. Shue looks great, and plays her part convincingly. Worth a look if you happen upon it.
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Call me crazy, but I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.
lionessliquidlove26 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Let me start by saying that I am a HUGE fan of macabre short stories, Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe being my two favs, and I must say that this story reminded me of something one of them would pen. I think most people are too well adapted to the rigid set up of today's average thriller. While I admit that it is quite enjoyable to watch a thriller today and take part in figuring out each carefully presented clue to unravel the mystery which will invariably lead to the oh so unexpected twist/revelation at the end. *Yawn* but really, formulaic movies - even the best ones - are predictable and rather boring.

The thing with this film is....there was no mystery to figure out. It was given to you that she was losing her mind, just like it was given to you that the narrator of "The Tell Tale Heart" was mad. The beauty of this story comes from simply watching the character come undone. The terror lies not in some regurgitated supernatural forces. The terror lies in many real live women much like our main character in this film. The terror lies in realizing that, yes - even the clear, sane, and "normal" mind can unravel. Throw in some prescription anti-depressants and it could explode.

Think "The Yellow Wallpaper" people! Charlotte Perkins Gillman!
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***Do not watch this movie if you have a newborn or are expecting
shaevans15 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Alright, I am not sure where to start with this so here goes.. The movie overall was well acted but there was very little a solid acting performance could do so save the weak plot. I am a new father and have a 3.5 month son who happened to be with his mother at the time. The ending to this movie was the most disturbing thing I have seen in any recent movie I can think of. In fact it was so horrifying that I had to see my son ASAP. Please, if you are new parent, do not watch this. I can handle the most gruesome of movies but this, hit to close to home and just haunted me. Honestly, the movie was well done and it was a great performance by Shue. But I will never ever look at her the same again.
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Postpartum Psychosis or Madness?
claudio_carvalho13 December 2007
When the dancer Laura (Elizabeth Shue) feels sick after a presentation, she finds that she is pregnant. Her husband and successful executive Steven (Steven Mackintosh) decides to buy a huge house in the suburb to raise their baby daughter Jessica in an adequate environment. Laura changes her lifestyle, feels nervous alone with the rats in the house and accidentally kills their dog with poison. Later Steven hires Mrs. Kasperian (Kathleen Chalfant) to help Laura in the housework and with the baby, but Laura believes the old woman wishes to harm Jessica using witchcraft. Laura has a breakdown, and when she recovers, her mother moves to her house to help her with the baby. During the night, Laura decides to get rid off a doll she found in the house changing their lives forever.

"First Born" is a weird and disturbing movie, and talking to some friends of mine I noted that this is the type of film extremely unpleasant for women. The beautiful Elizabeth Shue is thinner and has a good performance, but her character is not well developed, therefore it is not possible to know whether she is a mother with postpartum psychosis or simply a mad woman. I liked this film, but I do not dare to recommend it especially for potential mothers. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Filha das Sombras" ("Daughter of the Darkness")
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Shue really has a torn soul.
mbj123-11 January 2007
Elisabeth Shue plays a dancer whose career is suddenly put hold when she becomes pregnant and upon delivery of the baby via cesarean section, things take a turn to a somewhat dark and often disorienting turn.

Shue's performance in First Born is fabulous and the ending was a twist that was somewhat expected, but still a bit of a shock. The camera is following Laura throughout the movie. we see only her perspective of how things play out which by the end, leaves you with many unanswered questions.

Overall, a very good film.
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Waste of Time....Watch Something Else
chrisvancool20 March 2007
This movie was one of the worst movies I have seen in a long time. I was very disappointed, I love Psychological thrillers, but this was far from that. Although Shue did a decent job in the movie, it couldn't save the fact that it was a horribly written movie. The story literally went nowhere, leaving me frustrated and annoyed. Many questions were never answered, and the character development was almost non-existent.

In the future I will think twice before ever seeing another Isaac Webb movie.


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It's really a great film but not for everyone to enjoy.
egroegwerdna1224 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It's really a great film but not for everyone to enjoy.

First, for you to enjoy or relate to this film, you must have some knowledge on psychology, nursing, mental health or anything that is related to these fields or else you will end up saying, "Huh?" or "Why did she..?." or be bored while watching the movie.

Second, if you don't know psychology, you must at least be imaginative or be open minded.

Lastly, if you don't know psychology, not imaginative and not an open minded person, you should be at least a good critique… It's NOT a waste of time to watch this film.

All questions building in your mind while watching the film will be answered if you will understand the film.

I'm in a nursing field. For me, this is really a great film. It's great from start to finish.

Just one comment about the nurse who said," Don't worry, everything is going to be alright." – That is a non-therapeutic sentence because it falsely reassuring the patient. Bad nurse. Lolx. ^_^ Shue's acting was also great. She really showed the anxiety paranoid schizophrenic narcissistic obsessive compulsive….. the character is really going insane… And the film clearly showed everything how or what is going on a deranged mind of a person.

Hmmm.. Actually, I think it is not only a great film but one of the best psychological thrillers. ^_^
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A movie actually worse than Wickerman................
tboothone23 March 2007
Elisabeth Shue's voice mail:

"Hey Elisabeth, this is Nick. Remember when we made "Leaving Las Vegas", and we promised each other that we'd each try and make the worst film ever just for kicks? Well I just did an incredibly awful remake of "Wickerman"! So you're up...."

Nicolas Cage's voice mail:

"Hey it's me, two words - First Born! I win, you loser!"

Something has gone wrong, horribly wrong with movies lately. I can't even stay awake sometimes for the ending. The problem here is I really do like both Cage and Shue but the scripts and supporting cast that they got on these movies was awful. As far as First Born goes there is not one thing RIGHT with the movie. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WATCHING THIS. I suffer so you don't have to.
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Should have been a little more excitement
jb192 July 2007
Reading the other comments, I certainly see why people say this movie is lame. It does drag on with seemingly no point and just when you think something big will happen... it doesn't. But you are able to tell that this movie was made like this on purpose. All though may not have been the best idea it has a real life feel to it. Its shown through the perspective of "Shue" the whole movie, a lot of unanswered questions and confusion left at the end is because she never had them answered.... and honestly all of the questions are answered if you pay close enough attention there is just no "WHY" but you can figure the "HOW" out. Her hallucinations and the way her mind goes downhill is believable and the way things weren't always what they seemed, which disappoints the movie fan in you, really portrays something that could happen in the real world. This movie is good because it gives you that eerie feeling of real life where as if it was laced with a bunch of special effects and corny situations made strictly for fear and not the story line, it would have been much worse in my opinion.
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shelloramma3 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I was expecting more from this film. It started off dark with the potential to be creepy. I kept waiting for a climax or a twist but nothing. Shue acted well but an actor can only do so much. This film was doomed from the moment the ink hit the paper. A young woman has her first baby after moving from the city to a large home with her husband. He works all the time and she is left alone with the baby. She starts to slowly go mad. Although you keep hoping that something eerie or sinister will happen, it falls flat. The ending was terrible but I was so glad when it was over. It was an absolute yawnfest! Don't waste your time this movie SUCKED!
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Not for those ignorant viewers who want Hollywood-type movies that explain every last detail
enniosmusic25 July 2007
This movie was brilliant. It automatically gets at least 2 points for not being shot on Video, which so many thriller/horror movies are these days. Other than that it was well acted, not overwritten with explanatory back story crap that no one cares about and always sounds awkward coming out of actors mouths. Instead it builds on a single premise--the fact that women DO NOT have an innate maternal instinct. This myth that women will automatically connect to their baby and know how to care for it and love it is completely false and the first hour of the film builds on this really well. Until you begin to realize that there are little creepy things that may be going beyond this simple premise. You are left questioning whether these creepy things are the subconscious manifestations of Shue's unwillingness to be a mother (ie, she's going crazy), or if there is something really sinister going on beyond Shue's control. And the best part of the whole WE NEVER FIND OUT!!! It's perfect, you are left to your own devices to decide the meanings behind Shue's actions. That still doesn't deter from the ending--and boy what an ending. It's quick, abrupt, and shocking. A perfect little movie about one woman (all other characters are simply peripheral characters, almost unnecessary, but still welcome--except the husband, he's useless).

Anyway, for those who want everything answered for them in a neat little Hollywood package, avoid it. For those who are interested in something a little more in depth that plays upon Freudianesque elements embedded in film theory, and enjoy not having every piece of the story telling laid out for them, rent it!
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Underrrated little diamond of a movie!
Extinctive5 September 2007
Absolutely brilliant in every aspect. I have no other words to sum up this movie. The music is outstanding, the camera-work, lighting and cinematography are prize-worthy, the colors and sets are stunningly beautiful! The acting is top notch. Shue is cast so well for this part it's scary to even think she's acting. You'll forget that she is!

This is one of the most unsettling and grabbing mental trips I've seen in a long damn time. Every little detail is a layered work of art on the lead's reality. I really loved how it leaves solutions to what is shown all to the viewer's imagination. Makes you think, allows you to fill in the blanks, and oh how I've missed that in so many movies lately! I have no understanding of pregnant women's mental stages, but this movie does an amazing job at bringing across the thrilling parts of a pregnancy and having a baby to care for, the worries and desperate loneliness in being the only one who trusts..

If you consider yourself smart and intelligent, with a vivid imagination, this one's for you.
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Absolutely nothing happens during the first hour of the film , a waste of time!
norbert-irmer9 February 2007
Yes, Elizabeth Shue is acting well, so what? To watch a pregnant woman for one hour, with nothing else going on, is a waste of 35mm film! There was no real climate to build up to. The "climate" ended in the last scene and was no surprise to me. The character "Laura" (Elizabeth Shue) is a little strange, really stupid and at the end mad (big surprise), that is it. It reminded me of "Hide & Seek" (just a little), but actually stands no comparison. There was no real thrill in it and the pseudo scary sound effects didn't do the job. The film was really boring and I was having a rough time staying awake until the end. This movie does not deserve to be called: "Overall, a very good film" This movie sucks!
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I actually bleed from my eyes and ears
kjaffe197226 March 2007
I had to seek medical attention after watching this movie. It was so bad I swear I started to bleed from my eyes and ears. It may be the worst movie of all time. This movie created more questions than answers and left me feeling unclean. The whole time I am waiting for something to happen and then....nothing. I'd rather watch Ben Affleck and Jenny from the Block in that other awful movie that we dare not say its name, while watching it with Chinese voices dubbed over it and bamboo being shoved under my finger nails. As for the acting.....the best part was the Dog named Parker.....I actually believed he died in the movie. Whatever acting school the dog went to you should send the rest of the cast to. WOW STAY AWAY FROM THIS MOVIE!!!!
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Hitchcock would've loved it
petdix-131 January 2008
No idea what the negative commentary is based upon--this movie scared heck out of my husband & me b/c it could've happened to anyone. Post partum psychosis is a real, terrifying condition which is little understood in the US. In the UK (where my husband's mother is from), there are special clinics & much awareness about this debilitating condition. It's obvious that the wife is going through this & her husband, who is busily trying to make enough $$ to support his small family & large house, misses clues. Steven MackIntosh is such a brilliant actor, he makes it look almost too easy in this role. See him in Prime Suspect, as the Moriarity figure to Jane Tennison's Sherlock. Then compare that role ("The Street") to this. You will be suitably impressed. Shue does a fantastic job of spiraling downward from together, gorgeous, bright dancer to the end, which I won't give away. And of COURSE her hair looked like S*** that was part of the spiral downward. AUGH! I hate when people just don't GET IT. The cinematography was brilliant. My husband & I (and friends) watch 3-5 movies a week, most recently this & Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train."
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A guaranteed punch in groin
sobank13 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
**Warning : Spoiler regarding the theme**

Well first of all I like to say that i was kind of disappointed in first 2/3rd of the movie but man the last quarter set everything straight. And I blame it all on expectation that there will be some boogie man or some witchcraft would be involved. Wrong!!!!!!! This movie is not rosemary's baby. So don't be waiting for a devil child. Just watch it with a very open mind and keep all the possibilities in your mind and you will start getting the idea of where it is going.

Absolutely good movie. A must watch for horror addicts. And i will suggest that leave your companion out in dark or really tell him/her that there is no supernatural horror. The two approaches have different effects on viewer. In first case (leaving person no idea) will have a Sixth sense effect in the end. And if you already warned the person then movie becomes more of psycho thriller.
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predictable though shocking
clairehuck19 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
don't believe everything you read, everyone has an opinion, and everyone does not have to agree with that opinion. the movie was slow moving in a positive way, this helped in creating the characters and atmosphere. and even though we could predict the ending, we did not want this to be so;as the ending developed that feeling of "Oh my god" factor hit home with a thud. the movie left me feeling numb and silent, hoping i had missed a valuable point, though no, Spoiler - she really did it, her madness brought on by a bad experience during labour, loneliness and paranoia towards being what society counts towards being a good mother, and later infection from her c section brings on hallucinations and madness. as she takes the doll out into the garden, dragging it by the arm and tossing it onto the grass before digging a hole to bury the cold, lifeless plastic that has been haunting her, the small smile forcing its way onto the mothers face has never left me with such a feeling of dread, keep your paranormal, slash, terror/horror movies, this psychological thriller did it for me, i feel despair and sadness just as the mother felt and what the director wanted from his audience.
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Outstanding Movie
gillhamjs11 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
There seem to be a lot of naysayers on the subject of this movie. You can't go into it expecting "Jacob's Ladder" or a "Horror" movie because it is neither. It is a very realistic (in my opinion) look into the mind of someone that is slowly losing her grip on reality. The movie was well written and well directed. Elizabeth Shue gave and superb performance as did the rest of the cast. As I said before this is not a horror movie and i wouldn't even go so far as to call it a "Psychological Thriller". The ending is a little hard to bear (if you've got a soft-spot for children, particularly babies). This is a great movie and I suggest it to anyone unless you have just given or are about to give birth in which case, wait another year or so.
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