Run Time: 1h 26min
3 Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
Directed by: Darrell Roodt
Starring: Reine Swart, Brandon Auret and Thandi Puren
Screenplay: Tarryn-Tanille Prinsloo
Producers: Andre Frauenstein Snr, Samuel Frauenstein
Uncork’d Entertainment brings director Darrell Roodt’s vision of a horrific and twisted fairy tale for you to watch, available today on all platforms of VOD.
I liked the film, overall, but it’s hard to root for or feel too sorry for the main character, Chloe (Swart) who has just given birth to little Liam and is now doing everything she can do to stop herself from killing him. Why it’s hard to root for her is, though attempted, you never get a real liking for her. Instead, you feel more for her mother, Ruby (Puren), who is trying to bury her sordid past and makeup to her daughter whom she was anything but loving to. That’s not to say you’re not going to like the film or buy into the characters. All boxes for a great horror are checked and there are two scream queens here, in Swart and Puren and in a few scenes they’re battling it out for top position if they were so interested. They’re both magnificent in their roles.
Chloe is from Eden Rock, a town that has a terrible past. The story is introduced to us by a woman narrating, complete with sound effects that set the tone, the story of what the British soldiers did to the women of Eden Rock in 1901 while their husbands were away. They locked them in concentration camps, raped them and if any of the women had children, the priest and a midwife would take the child and kill it to save its soul from damnation. These scenes will have you on edge and squirming at the thought of what these women and their babies went through.
Chloe had left her mother and Eden Rock, but she needs help and Ruby has taken her back in. It’s not hard to put two and two together and see that since it’s the same town and that babies are involved that a haunting is about to happen. Chloe has rejected her baby and Ruby takes it upon herself to try and get her some help as she falls deeper and deeper into depression. Chloe’s mood darkens when horrible visions of Eden Rock’s midwife begin to assault her. She becomes more aggressive while protecting the child. As the visions have shown the intentions of the midwife which is to see the child is killed.
Ruby decides to get some help from a therapist who’s also an old friend named Dr. Reed. He believes Chloe’s issues are just hormonal. He suggests and encourages Chloe to do as the visions suggest. Maybe he knows more than he’s letting on? His demeanor will lead you to think there’s something not quite right with him. Actor Brandon Auret does a superb job of bringing the creepy character to life. Even with his help or maybe because of it, Chloe grows uglier and more unhinged. She admits she’s a black hole; feels empty inside. A simple case of the baby blues hardly leads to what happens to this young woman and those around her.
The movie is good. I enjoyed the sound design tremendously. Spine-chilling sounds such as creaking floorboards, screeching, the crackle of a fire, shrieks and screams all helped in shaping the overall cadence and allows the audience to feel the pulse without missing a beat. Manipulative camera angles and adequate editing assisted considerably in the broad understanding of both Chloe’s and Ruby’s plight while keeping in mind that poor Liam’s soul is on the line. I close with this last thought. These two wonderful actresses, one playing a woman who’s desperately trying to reconnect with her child and one who’s doing everything she can to stay connected with the world, are tremendous. It would be a shame not to see a lot more of them in the future. I hope we do.
Theaters where you can currently see The Lullaby:
Phoenix – Valley Art
Los Angeles – Laemmle Music Hall
Philadelphia – PFS Roxy Theater
Chicago – Facets Cinematheque
Atlanta – Plaza Theater
Dallas – Texas Theater
Cleveland – Cedar Lee Cinemas
San Francisco – Roxie Theater
Miami – Cinema Paradiso
Denver – SIE Film Center