SEPTEMBER 9, 2008
Scanning the shelves at Blockbuster, I chuckled as I saw the cover of Baby Blues, since it looked like a killer baby (or doll) movie. The clerk nearby laughed at my laughing, and said “Man, whatever you got, I want, because it’s making you laugh.” I told him the title, to which he replied “Baby Blues, oh no!”, despite the fact that he probably didn’t know the film from Baby Mama*. The guy at the counter also made lame jokes, so I dunno, maybe something was in the air tonight (hold on!) at Blockbuster. Usually they are silent; lately they don’t even bother telling me the due date.
Anyway, the movie was NOT about a killer baby (or doll), but in fact a killer mom. Essentially a slasher version of the Andrea Yates story, I was pretty pleasantly surprised to see how disturbing and fast paced it was, with no punches pulled. It’s not every day you see a woman stabbing her 5 year old son over and over, then chasing the two other kids around with a tractor and such.
On the IMDb, some folks are complaining that the movie should be banned and what not because it’s so disturbing and tries to make entertainment out of a real life problem (post natal depression, which is what sets the mom off). Of course, that means we should also ban Candyman (inner city people being ignored), Stir Of Echoes 2 (the Iraq War), Texas Chain Saw (the economy), etc. And the idea of banning a horror movie for being disturbing is both hilarious and sad; it’s so rare anymore that a horror film even TRIES to disturb the audience anymore, when one does its considered a “crime”.
Now, granted, many (all?) of these complaints are from women who are mothers or expecting to be (good luck, with your shrill attitude), so some slack can be cut. I am not a parent, or a farm owner, or a complete idiot, so I cannot identify with either the characters in the film or its critics, but I can safely say that the mere act of making a horror movie out of a real problem is sort of a good thing – you can be entertained (to a degree, it’s hardly a “fun” slasher like your Friday the 13ths or whatever) and maybe open your eyes a bit at the same time. Maybe if I become a dad I will look for warning signs that the mother of my child is suffering from post natal depression that I am now aware of, such as excessive crying, unmotivated feelings of inadequacy, or seeing stigmata in the bedsheets.
Speaking of the dad, one thing I definitely liked was that the dad in this movie wasn’t a complete asshole, like most horror movies present fathers as. He seems like a pretty chill dude, actually. He’s just trying to provide for his family, and if that means he has to spend the entire movie driving in a truck so that the filmmakers can cut to something besides filicide every now and then to pad their film out a bit (it’s not even 80 minutes long, with two full credit sequences plus usual end credits), so be it. His only flaw is not really thinking things through; early on he expresses his desire to have another child (which would make 5) despite the fact that the newest one doesn’t even seem to be a year old yet. Granted, actress Colleen Porch is hot as fucking hell (she looks like a cross between Evangeline Lilly and Angelina Jolie) and you can’t blame him for wanting to hit it, but Christ dude, look to my initials (BC!) for the best of both worlds.
Then again maybe they didn’t have the pill back then, with then being whenever the hell this movie is supposed to take place. The main kid’s friend has an Atari, which would put it at 1981 or so (that or it’s the present day and he’s just the youngest hipster ever), but they have a modern baby monitor. However, the farm hand listens to old records and everything else sort of looks like early 60s. I guess it’s sort of the point, to be “timeless”, but it’s a bit awkwardly done if so.
I must give credit to the directors (Lars Jacobson and Amardeep Kaleka) for their damn good direction though. It’s a beautifully shot movie, and other than some obvious day for night colored shots, technically flawless. They are big on cutaways to random objects, all of which serves to make the film feel a bit off kilter, not to mention supply heavy doses of atmosphere. It’s rare any of this DTV indie nonsense impresses in the technical department, so well done.
There is one part that’s a bit ridiculous though. The kid begins to freak out (due to the fact that his mom just killed his siblings and stabbed him with an ax) and thus begins smashing plates and overturning furniture. But in the middle of all that, he... turns the faucet on? What the hell kind of rebellious act of anger is that? Why not leave the fridge door open or maybe turn the light on in a room you’re not staying in while you’re at it?
So if you don’t like horror movies that are based in reality and are actually disturbing (and suspenseful), I would probably steer clear of this one. But if you can put aside the somewhat odd idea of presenting those ideas in a slasher format (she even has a couple of minor “one-liners”) and your soapbox has been put away, you should enjoy it.
What say you?
*A film that I had also picked up for a moment, because, well, Tina Fey is funny and cute, dammit. If that movie had Kristen Wiig instead of the uber-annoying Amy Poehler, it would be like porn to me.