Monday, July 8, 2013

That's One Bloody Registry

Baby Shower is far from a perfect (or even very good) horror film, but it does nail one thing that I often preach:

Older characters.

It's a lesson I can't teach enough when it comes to genre (or really, ANY TYPE) of cinema: the longer your characters have lived, the more dramatic possibilities they will have. The core cast of Baby Shower is far from geriatric or even middle aged, but focusing the story on mid-30somethings versus, say, the similarly themed, innately less interesting The Last Resort just goes to show how much more compelling it is to watch horror victims who have more to lose attempting to hang on. Sure, pretty and hard young bodies are nice to look at, but it's simply easier to care about a 35-year-old mother of three and hard-living career woman than it is a hot sorority girl.

Quick Plot: Angela is a very pregnant woman hosting a few city friends for the weekend in her isolated country estate. Because such a setup can never possibly go wrong, we throw in a kooky new age-y spiritual leader with a great rack, an easily seduceable handyman, and accusations regarding adultery. Before long, poisoned tea is being vomited onto expensive bedsheets, faces are being shotgunned, penises devoured, and in the glory of all glory, bear traps activated.

Man do I love me a good bear trap snapping.

Baby Shower is a zany movie, and for once, that's almost a bad thing. See, up until the halfway point, we're following some well-acted, believably written old friends reunite at a time in their lives when they're all in different places. Claudia, the homemaker, loads quite a lot into the looks she gives Manuela, a singleton with a casual cocaine habit. Angela is tense and pregnant, while her novelist pal is more interested in casual sex than motherhood. These women are well-established as characters, and watching them act off one another is a true pleasure.

And then things get bloody.

I like to think of myself as a fairly smart person, but I tell you: I don't really understand anything that happened once people started getting stabbed.

Obviously, I know people were stabbed (or genitally consumed or bear trapped), but that didn't explain WHY they were stabbed or bear trapped (it's always clear why one is genitally consumed). Something about hippies hating sin something something. I don't think it mattered, said with a raised vocal inflection to suggest a question. I wasn't bored, but what started as a movie that could have truly been something special ended (for me) on a note of confusion and casual indifference.

High Points
From the sprawling country estate to the well-done (and rarely coy) gore, Baby Shower is easily one of the best-looking low budget horror films to come out in recent years

I mean it: older characters make for more interesting stories. Considering the rather chaotic nature of the film's later acts, I would have almost preferred a non-murderous adventure simply because I was enjoying the performances so much

Low Points
I also mean it when I say, what and why happened for the film's last 45 minutes?

Lessons Learned
En espanol, 'baby shower' translates to 'bay-bee shower'

You can always tell a writer by her boots

Being stabbed repeatedly hurts quite a bit, but on the positive side, you can accomplish quite a lot before dying from it

I enjoyed Baby Shower, even though at times, I felt like the movie was challenging me to do so. Seriously, I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY MURDER HAPPENED. But I liked the characters, loved the look, and was ultimately entertained in spite of myself. Approach with caution.


  1. I just watched this one.
    It's true, older women are so much more interesting and, to my eyes, attractive, than the usual 'coeds get their party weekend ruined by hillbillies' crowd.
    **Spoiler Talk**
    It's kind of a reversal on A Letter to Three Wives. It also reminded me, just a bit, of subplot of The Descent.
    The local cult (which Angela is a member of) was enacting vengeance for Angela's having been cheated on (they keep going on about rules and community and betrayal). They thought the babies would be born full of hate unless they spilled the blood of their mother's betrayer.
    Angela seemed down with trapping/finding/punishing the adulteress but the cult gets impatient and decides to kill them all when none of them fess up. It takes Angela a while to realize her spiritual pals are maniacs.
    Felipe seems to know his wife's cultist friends but is not fully aware of how crazy they are.

    I'm left a bit curious about the cult. They say some stuff that makes them sound Satanic, such as 'punishing' Claudia (who I read as being Christian) for her devotion to the 'Great Swindler'... but then they're all prudish on Julio for sleeping with Olivia (what Satanist wouldn't approve of that?).
    The lead cult lady (who looks like Don Johnson with great tracks of land) wears a phoenix medallion which echoes some of the babble at the beginning about dreams and rebirth (which had me expecting it might turn out to be 'it's all a dream' nonsense).

    There are a number of typos in the subtitles so I would assume some subtle points might be lost in translation.
    I'm always up for movies about crazed cultists so I enjoyed it.

  2. Ah, okay. That does help clear some things up. I couldn't figure out Angela's role in all of it, but that makes sense. The nature of the cult was frustratingly vague. They seemed to be very affectionate with each other, but obviously, they didn't approve of their own getting it outside the circle. At least it wasn't an 'it's all a dream' swindle!

    TOTALLY agree about the Don Johnson resemblance. She's a very, er, handsome woman, but that goodness, I'm a straight woman and I couldn't keep my eyes off of those things!

  3. Great review as always! I wonder if the real issue is that (some of us) horror fans are...shall we say...maturing. I feel like I'm not in the audience for a bunch of the modern horror movies because I'm past the appropriate age bracket. Getting older is way scarier than your run of the mill paranormal possession. What speaks to us?

    Totally get the point about the need to see some older (and richer) characters. From your description, it sounds like Baby Shower at least heads in the right direction.

    I'll have to check it out and see if I understand why people get bear trapped. (I tried not to look at the above comment too closely.)

  4. Thanks Dusty! And I *suppose* we as an audience aren't, well, getting YOUNGER. Thanks for the reminder!

    I'll be curious to hear your thoughts on it. Knobgobbler did help clear some things up for me. Maybe you're smart 'n stuff and don't need the primer!

  5. I saw this movie on Netflix and I've been meaning to watch it for a good while but I've been putting it off!

  6. I'll be curious to hear your thoughts when you finally get to it!