Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Hell Baby (2013)

A horror comedy written by, directed by, and starring Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, Hell Baby is a fairly amusing movie that could have been improved by two things. One, a better cast. Two, some sharper gags.

Rob Corddry and Leslie Bibb are the couple who move into a home that has seen a lot of bad stuff, to put it mildly, within its walls. Bibb is quite heavily pregnant, and the parents-to-be hope to fill the place with good vibes and start making a rosy future. Keegan Michael-Key plays a man who keeps popping up to remind them of how unlikely that is, while two priests (Garant and Lennon) start down a trail that may well lead them to the very same house. Well, okay, it's obvious that it will. This isn't a mystery. It's obvious almost from the very beginning that the pregnancy is far from a normal one, which makes it just a matter of time until the priests get there and try to defeat any evil forces in the third act.

With a cast that also includes Riki Londhome and Michael Ian Black, this certainly has enough comic talent in front of the camera to help make the ridiculousness more palatable, but it's just a shame that there weren't a few more well-known names in the mix. The film doesn't actually have too many characters, which is a shame, because an extra cameo or two might have been enough to make this that bit more enjoyable. Bibb and Corddry are fun leads, Garant and Lennon work well together, and Michael-Key does well enough with a character that could have easily been far too grating.

But the biggest problem that the movie has is over-indulgence. I laughed quite a few times, but there were just as many occasions that started with me laughing and ended with me just wishing that everything had been wrapped up a bit quicker.

There are some easy jump "scares" here and some good gore, mixing with the easy laughs to result in something that defies the odds to become a surprisingly decent horror comedy at times. Unfortunately, it's all undone by a finale that ditches any semblance of intelligence for an overlong and unfunny riff on pass the parcel.

If you like the people involved then you'll like Hell Baby. It's fun. It's just a shame that Garant and Lennon didn't try a bit harder to tighten everything up and pack a bit more in to each act. And it's a great shame that they didn't seem to put any effort at all into thinking up a decent finale.



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