Hell Baby (2014) Review
If you’re a fan of “Reno 911!” then you’ll probably get a kick out of this reasonably amusing spoof of “Rosemary’s Baby”, “The Omen”, “Devil’s Due” and a dozen other coming-of-the-anti-Christ movies. Starring Leslie Bibb and Rob Corddry (an actor I always get muddled up with David Koechner), it tells the story of a young couple, Jack and Vanessa, who move into a dilapidated fixer-upper in a run-down New Orleans neighbourhood only to find that the house has a sinister impact on their soon-to-be-born twins.
There’s not much that’s original here and it riffs on similar material to “A Haunted House” and the later “Scary Movie” sequels but does so with a good natured charm and largely succeeds thanks to the quirky chemistry of the two leads and the various supporting actors.
But the cast can only carry it so far though and it’s quickly apparent that there’s enough material for around an hour’s worth of comedy stretched out to a feature length running time. With its tongue lazily in cheek, there’s enough gross out humour and oddball goofery to keep things ticking over but very little to set your pulse racing.
While much of the casting feels lazy and inevitable (Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, Thomas Lennon), they do what they do best and ultimately, it’s a hard film to dislike. Some things work better than they should, such as Keegan-Michael Key’s eccentric exposition spouting lodger F’resnel whereas others like Rikki Lindhome’s arrival as Vanessa’s sister Marjorie seem dropped in to provide a bit of literal titillation when the film is flagging. The character of Mrs Nussbaum, however, is probably a matter of personal taste.
Although it feels like it runs out of steam, a frenetic, gore spattered finale which cleverly calls back to earlier in the film makes up for the thinness of some of the proceedings. Neither a comedy or a horror classic, it’s a likeable if underwhelming way to while away your time.