Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hell Baby (2013) - Expecting a Little Devil of Your Own? This Might Make You Laugh.

Hell Baby got me with its creative poster. Just look at it. Little devil baby. Ready to come out. Full head of horns and all with the backdrop of the silhouette of the proud mama, unsuspecting. Ready to give birth (already) TO SATAN! It's a fantastic image that embodies the humor and the horror of pregnancy related dark comedy. Think Rosemary's Baby or It's Alive for starters. This particular image evoked memories of the V Miniseries on TV in the 80's. Remember that one? Where the unsuspecting girl bangs a lizard man and the Visitors use her for an experiment to see just what might happen with interbreeding. You get one Star Child, and one Lizard Baby which reminds me of the toilet bowl ghoulie from Ghoulies. What this poster doesn't exactly tell you is that Hell Baby is in fact a horror comedy directed by some of my favorite comedians from The State and Reno 911 and every other awesome project they've tackled in recent years (to me they're always the boys from The State).

Basic premise... couple moves into a house that is on the wrong side of the tracks, totally dilapidated and seemingly beyond repair. Add in a squatter determined to maintain his residency, a few murders on premises and one very pregnant, future mama and you figure out what might happen. Oh did we mention she's drinking paint thinner and has an insatiable craving for cigarettes. Is the house haunted by the spirits of the victims from homicides past or is it something more? Will we get a copycat tale of Rosemary Woodhouse or perhaps the Larry Cohen beast from the belly tale?

The verdict is that it's a moderately funny movie. It's not Scary Movie bland or obvious and has some special players who know how to do comedy. The usual suspects are in full effect; Robert Ben Gurant and Thomas Lennon wrote, directed and acted in the picture and stole the show. You can tell these guys really get comedy, but more so horror comedy which can be absolutely atrocious in the wrong hand. This isn't atrocious, and it's most likely due to the casting and some good writing (good for the type of movie it wants to be).  Riki Lindhome... clothing optional? Stunning. The Last House on the Left star (and yes she's been a pile of other stuff too) brings the funny.  Rob Corddry... you're a brilliant straight man, and Leslie Bibb draws parallels in her performance between Hell Baby and, of all things, Gina Davis in Beetlejuice. Figure out how that works. Rob Huebel who just had me rolling.

While I expected a more serious, camp effort, that's truly my own fault. I have to learn to at least read who's in the fucking movie before I watch it.It states very clearly that it's from the people who bought us Reno 911, and it states that the "Devil Got a Baby Mama".  I wasn't completely ready to laugh. I have to work up to it... laughing that is. I'm a horror guy first and an all-other genre guy second. Regardless of whether you are prepared or not you may have to wait a little bit to get your yucks on as most of the serious funnies come from Robert Ben Gurant and Thomas Lennon playing priests in search of an exorcism. Once these two land on the scene don't be afraid to laugh.

While you spend the entire movie building up to what you'd like to believe will be a big finish, there's little cause for surprise at what you'll get. No twist, really. Nothing that you can't see coming as if the ending was an after thought tacked on to seal the envelope rather than chest burst you into Hell Baby heaven. This is not This is the End, the funniest damn horror comedy since Shaun of the Dead, but this isn't shit either. Expect some physical humor with loads of sexual awesome which had me thinking "return of the 80's sex comedy?" but not unintelligent humor. Again, Scary Movie... blow it out your goddamn ass. Intelligent comedians at work here. I only wish I had scene Haunted House to be able to give you that comparison. First thing to remember about comedians, they are not necessarily special effects guys. I was unimpressed with the namesake baby.

This is worth a rental or purchase when the price is right, and it's not going to break you wallet. Fans of The State or Reno 911, smoke some reefer or drink an Olympia beers and enjoy. Do no expect serious horror movie. Do not expect breakout anything. Do expect a cigarettes and paint thinner being consumed at the same time by a hottie pregnant women.

You can pick it up here as a rental or purchase:

I'll watch this again for sure. It's a nice date movie on the couch, and a good Halloween flick for those people who can't handle the serious scares (pussy marauders). Also recommended strongly for expecting mothers who can't handle some of the more serious pregnancy horror films. I tried to get my wife to watch It's Alive and Rosemary's Baby when she was expecting and she outright refused. This might have changed her mind (we stayed away from Inside).


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