Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hell Baby (2013)(Spoiler Review)

**This review contains spoilers**

Happily married and looking for a new start, Jack (Rob Corddry) and Vanessa (Leslie Bibb) move to New Orleans, after buying an old and dilapidated mansion. Jack and Vanessa bask in the glory of a cheap steal, until their new neighbor, F’resnel (Keegan Michael Key) explains the history behind the mansion. Nicknamed “The House Of Blood,” Jack and Vanessa’s new home is filled with a past of murder, Satanism, and ghostly hauntings.

With Vanessa eight months pregnant and expecting twins, Jack is a little bit nervous after hearing F’resnel’s story, and things only get worse after a series of bizarre and unexplainable incidents within the mansion. Mickey (Rob Huebel) and Ron (Paul Scheer) are two local cops, who constantly harass and berate Jack and Vanessa, so real help doesn’t arrive until the Vatican sends two priests named Father Padrigo (Thomas Lennon) and Father Sebastian (Robert Ben Garant) to investigate the supernatural phenomena.

Jack urges Vanessa to leave the house, but under the influence of a demonic possession, Vanessa refuses. Vanessa’s sister, Marjorie (Riki Lindhome) arrives to help with a spiritual ritual, and together, Jack, Marjorie, F’resnel, Mickey, Ron, Father Padrigo, and Father Sebastian prepare for the arrival of Vanessa’s demonic baby.

Without the excellent chemistry between Leslie Bibb and Rob Corddry, Hell Baby could’ve been a lot worse. At first, you get the impression of Jack and Vanessa being your typical perky and uptight couple from the suburbs, but Jack turns into this hysterical mess of a man, as Vanessa’s erratic behavior gets worse. And Leslie Bibb is the star of this cast. It’s hard to not laugh at Bibb, as she struts around the mansion with this cocky and wicked sense of joy. Vanessa’s antics include, but are not limited to, popping Valiums like M&M’s, drinking wine glasses full of paint thinner, and smoking cigarettes, while questioning her husband’s testicular fortitude.

Lindhome is good for a few laughs as the whacked-out hippie. You can easily see the similarities between Huebel, Scheer, Lennon, and Garant’s characters: they’re dimwitted buffoons, who are unlikely choices to have jobs in their respective professions. After observing Mickey and Ron’s behavior, you’d have a hard time believing both men are cops. Replace cops with priests, and you can say the same thing about Father Padrigo and Father Sebastian. The comedic irony with the priest’s reckless behavior, while constantly smoking cigarettes becomes tiresome after a while. And you can say the same thing about Mickey and Ron’s blatant disregard for protocol, while abusing their powers and bullying Jack and Vanessa. But for a little while, the routine is good for a handful of cheap laughs. Rest of the supporting cast is decent at best, with Key’s F’resnel being the most annoying character.

If you try and put too much thought into the plot and story for Hell Baby, you’ll probably hate this film. You’ll wonder why a seemingly cautious couple would choose such a rough and violent neighborhood to raise a child in. You’ll wonder why a husband wouldn’t take more drastic steps to ensure the safety of his pregnant wife, as she continues to drink wine by the bottle on a daily basis (Jack never witnessed Vanessa drinking the paint thinner), and smoke, while abusing prescription medication to take “thirty-six” hour naps. You’ll also wonder how Vanessa was able to give birth to one normal baby, and one demonic baby with no attempt at an explanation behind the half miracle, half curse dilemma. But Hell Baby is supposed to be a ridiculously stupid horror comedy, that doesn’t take itself too seriously. So if you try to decipher the question marks, there’s a good chance your head will explode. 

Although, I’ll say this, Hell Baby deserves some bonus points for breaking the fourth wall, when Jack urges Vanessa to leave the house, because in Jack’s words, something bad always happens in the “movies” when the cast chooses to stay in a haunted house.

The two running gags in Hell Baby lose a lot of steam fast. First, you have damn near everyone in the cast pigging out on Po’ boy sandwiches, with close-up shots of their mouths. And there’s the unfunny gag with F’resnel constantly popping up out of nowhere, invading Jack and Vanessa’s privacy, and helping himself to anything without asking first.

And the grand finale? I’m pretty sure it’s something you’ll either hate or love with no middle ground whatsoever. It involves the entire cast saving the good, healthy baby, and fighting/trying to kill the demon baby. During the calamity, the demon baby is literally running around, while using his fangs to rip out throats, noses, and anything else. Towards the end, the entire cast is playing hot potato with the demon baby, until Jack finally figures out a solution to kill the demon.

You’ll need a bizarre sense of humor to enjoy this low budget horror comedy, and well, I have a bizarre sense of humor. Throughout the movie, I laughed my ass off out loud a few times. Hell Baby gives horror fans the best of both worlds, with a nice mix of extreme gross-out gags (not counting my picks for the two unfunny gags I mentioned above), over the top, no holds barred humor, and A LOT of blood and gore.

Seriously, if you’re squeamish about nasty stuff, you should probably avoid Hell Baby. The overflow of blood squirting and flying everywhere during the finale, and  a possessed Vanessa scrubbing her nails with a brillo pad, until they bleed are a few good examples. The gross-out scenes? It’s kind of hard to forget about Jack, Vanessa, Marjorie, and F’resnel vomiting at once after looking at pictures of a dead body (think of that one Family Guy episode, where Peter, Chris, Brian, and Stewie can’t stop vomiting at the same time, now replace them with human beings).

I would love to give Hell Baby a higher score, but I know it’s not that good. Still, could’ve been a lot worse without Bibb and Corddry (especially Bibb).

Rating: 6/10

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