Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Baby

A social worker finds herself drawn to a bizarre case, that of a supposedly retarded grown man with the mind (and behavior) of a baby. Only, she comes to believe that there's nothing wrong with his mind at all. Rather, she suspects that Baby's domineering mother and sisters have deliberately kept him trapped in a state of eternal infancy via bizarre abuse.

Ick. Just ick. Even if The Baby was a shitty movie, the premise alone would be enough to get under my skin. Something about a grownup dressed in baby clothes and making baby noises creeps my shit out. No offense to those adult-baby fetishists all over the internet, you guys please feel free to continue to live your lives in whatever way makes you happy, but gross.

Thing is, The Baby is also a pretty good horror movie. It's deliberately paced and, while far from a realistic portrait of abuse or abnormal psychology, spends a lot of time milking the psychological dimensions of its premise for its creepiness, rather than inserting too many arbitrary, phony thrills. Things do become more overtly thriller-y during the last half hour or so, but it's earned after a strong buildup, and works in a great, icky final twist that must have a large part in giving this film its (deserved) cult status.

Grade: B


Shenan said...

I also kind of like, in retrospect, the way (maybe vague spoilers ahead?) that two of the main characters just go completely beserk for no reason, completely out of character, and you think "Wow, that was really bad script writing in service of having a violent climax," but then it turns out you're wrong, sucker, they knew what they were doing.

I have to say I preferred GIRLY in terms of torture via getting-under-the-audience's-skin-sexually-and-psychologically, just thought it played out better there, but I appreciate both for "going there."

Also, our discussion pre-viewing made me laugh:
"Um, are you sure that's a horror movie and not a porno?"
"What makes you think anything about it is sexual??"
"That's like, a major fetish."
"Yeah but this was 1973!"
"Um...I don't think the fetish was invented after 1973. I'm pretty sure fetishes existed before then."
"Yeah but not in mainstream movies!"
"Well if it was a porno it wouldn't be a mainstream movie, would it?"
"It's a horror movie. It was under 'horror' on Netflix."

Dan said...

Well, you kind of know something's up when she takes Baby from the house, but doesn't go to the police to report the family for trying to kill her. But it is still pretty crazy when her and the mother just sort of brutally murder everybody.