Top positive review
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A complete and total surprise.
on October 10, 2008
Baby Blues (Lars E. Jacobson and Amardeep Kaleka, 2008)
I've watched a lot of movies-- probably way too many-- over the past couple of weeks, from the sublime to the ridiculous, and all points in between. Baby Blues a little straight-to-video thriller that just recently hit the shelves, may be the best of them. This is the reason I watch so many awful horror films-- because every once in a while, I find a microbudget movie that impresses me more than almost anything I've seen from the major studios in the past five years. There was Shallow Ground. There was Deadbirds. Now there is Baby Blues.
Jimmy (The Bad News Bears remake's Ridge Canipe) is a rural fourteen-year-old with problems. He's not quite the town bully, but he's not a model kid, either. His dad (Anonymity's Joel Bryant) is a long-distance trucker who's around, it seems, just long enough to get his mom (I Know Who Killed Me's Colleen Porch) pregnant every once in a while; as we open, Jimmy is one of four kids, the youngest an infant, and mom is suffering some serious post-natal depression, which is augmented by a distressingly rapid slide into full-out madness. Dad has to make a run to Tallahassee, and not long after he gets out of sight, Mom snaps for good. This, as it turns out, is a very, very bad thing for her children. Jimmy finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to protect his younger siblings from their mother's murderous wrath.
Make no mistake, this is an exceedingly dark movie, and one that will disturb and offend many viewers, but it gets its power by the fact that it's frighteningly well-acted and very well directed by first-timers Jacobson and Kaleka, who have obviously done their homework better than most of the first-time directors working within the system these days. This is just shy of being the perfect thriller; the opening scenes are a bit on the slow side, but once Jacobson and Kaleka (who also wrote the screenplay) crank up the tension, it never once lets go. The current theory that humorous interludes punctuating the horror is certainly workable in the right hands, but this is a movie that shows that unrelenting tension can work even better under the right circumstances. These are the right circumstances. Keeping in mind my warning above-- there are many who will find the basis of the story (which is, supposedly, based on a true incident) offensive to even think about, let alone see depicted on a screen-- I cannot recommend this movie highly enough. See this, and see it soon. **** ½