[Fantasia '13 Review] Jonny Says ‘Hell Baby’ Was A “Painful Experience”

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Do any of you have that friend (or know of that person) who upon hearing a fairly funny joke has to turn to their friend on the left, repeat the joke, say the punchline, cackle hysterically, and then immediately turn to their friend on the right and do the exact same thing again? Yeah, that’s Hell Baby in a nutshell.

A horror comedy in the same vein as Scary Movie, Hell Baby focuses almost entirely upon the comedy element while being rooted in a horror atmosphere. The story centers around happy couple Jack (Rob Corddry) and Vanessa (Leslie Bibb) as they move into their new home (which bears as many evil names as possible). Heavily pregnant Vanessa deals with some demonic forces possessing her and all sorts of whacky, spooky things begin occurring, such as boxes stacking themselves, a strange phantom dog prowling around their yard, and a frisky 90-year old woman who is in desperate need of clothing.

The film elicits some very strong laughs but then falls victim to immediately pummeling the joke into the ground, ruining it entirely. What was funny quickly descends into annoying and never returns, the cast trying way too hard to make each scene as funny as possible but instead making it pathetic.

Let me give you an example, shall I? When Vanessa gives birth to her demon baby (don’t worry, I didn’t spoil anything by stating this), what ensues is the longest game of hot potato I’ve ever seen in a movie. And just when you think it’s over (after a painfully long time), it starts all over again.

Another example: Keegan Michael Key’s character F’Resnel keeps on popping up out of nowhere, startling and terrifying Jack. While funny the first time and perhaps the second it is most certainly not funny the fourth or fifth time.

The film is technically well put with some interesting lighting and some fun set designs. However nothing stands out as anything particularly unique or engaging. The music is also entirely forgettable.

Sitting in a theater and watching this was actually a painful experience. More than once…scratch that. More than ten times I was aching to pull out my cellphone to check the time (the only thing stopping me is the thought of pulling out my cellphone in a movie theater). Other times I was rolling my eyes and dropping my head back, wishing that the movie was over. People between the ages of 12 and 18 will find this great as will anyone who is more than three beers into the night. If you are not in that age group or that situation you should avoid this movie and find a better comedy/horror.

Got any thoughts/questions/concerns for Jonathan Barkan? Shoot him a message on Twitter or on Bloody-Disgusting!

  • djblack1313

    i tried watching this the other day and it was kinda bad. i normally love Leslie Bibb but (i’m not trying to be mean) her cheek implants are so distracting and horrific that it took me out of the movie every time she was on screen. she was already a gorgeous woman. she didn’t need that plastic surgery.