Monday, February 23, 2015

Second Time Singing the Baby Blues

As I compiled my list of Shortening offerings, I became a little worried. It's not February here at the Doll's House without at least one evil toy, but six years into this blog, it's becoming harder and harder to films of that ilk that I haven't seen, written about, or referenced. Are we nearing the end of dollhood?

Goodness no, and thanks to the beauty of Netflix Instant Watch and Hong Kong, I don't even have to resort to whatever outtakes Charles Band has compiled into a 72 minute excuse for a film. Sifting through Netflix, I was thrilled to come upon today's feature. I mean, just LOOK at that cover!

Quick Plot:
An attractive young couple moves into a sprawling and fairly isolated home with no drawbacks (save, for the fact that for whatever reason, their only neighbor is a cheerful homeless man living in a shanty of sorts across the street).  A box from the previous owners includes a creepy little doll wearing a turtleneck, and if we learned nothing from Puppetmaster or From Beyond the Grave, it's that one should never relax around a doll in a turtleneck.

Homeless neighbor across the street warns the couple of omens, but they settle in happily, especially after songwriter Hubby (I never caught his name and IMDB is confusing, so I'll call him what his wife does) finds his inspiration. It's pretty much the best scene of all time. Allow me to set up:

Hubby is hanging upside down from the ceiling, which sort of makes sense from a struggling artist with athleticism point of view. As he swings back and forth, Hubby knocks the Creepy Doll In a Turtleneck onto his piano, where it hits a few notes before landing on the ground. Those notes, my friends, are EVIL.

We don't quite know that yet, and actually, now that I think through the rest of the movie, maybe they're just a byproduct? See, Baby Blues has a lot going on, but it doesn't seem in any hurry to actually deal with it all.

In addition to an EVIL song (it's so evil that it causes one pop star to get into a car accident and another to spill a lot of scotch) co-produced by a Creepy Doll In a Turtleneck, Wifey Tian (but c'mon: let's call her Wifey) becomes pregnant with twins after an amorous evening overseen by the Creepy Doll In a Turtleneck whose eyes bleed. When one child doesn't survive, Wifey is diagnosed with the titular 'baby blues,' postpartem depression that in this case, leads her to treat the Creepy Doll In a Turtleneck Whose Eyes Bleed as if he were her elder baby boy Jimmy.

I have no idea who Baby Blues was made for. In an American theater, it would probably be rated PG-13, although its storyline is far more geared towards adults with career and family worries than the typical Friday night young adult and tween crowd who just want to see some jump scares. There's an odd reluctance to ever REALLY go for darkness, even though there is certainly some horrific subject matter at play.

Thankfully, we're not talking about that OTHER low budget horror film I watched a few years ago also called Baby Blues. That movie made me want to track the filmmaker down and perform Bart Simpson quality prank phone calls on his private line. We're not in that camp.

This Baby Blues is just tonally very strange. Our only real body count comes from the tragedy of a stillborn birth and a few hazy flashbacks about the fates of past residents of the home. There's a genuinely horrific moment involving a baby being dropped from a very high deck, but it's ultimately resolved in a rather easy manner that undercuts its own horror.

Still, we do get a dream sequence that involves an evil child in a tuxedo, and for that, I give this film a passing grade.

High Points
When Wifey is kind of dull, her little bike-riding, punch-giving, wine-drinking, popstar-slamming tomboy sister is KICK. ASS.

Low Points
The general lightness of a movie that seems to want to go darker kept me from loving Baby Blues, although I was always interested in where it was going

Lessons Learned
CPR can pretty easily be achieved by simply beating up a new corpse

Doctors don't lie!

Like all media, Baby Blues teaches us a well-known fact: anytime a woman vomits, she will, within two minutes, discover that she is pregnant

Never doubt the warnings given by the friendly homeless man who just so happens to occupy the shanty across the street

It's hard to recommend Baby Blues because I feel that the majority of horror film fans will be annoyed and disappointed. But there's something strangely charming about such an innocent take on a killer (sorta) doll movie. Viewers who don't require a high body count in their horror may be able to enjoy this for its quirks. I certainly did.

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