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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

6 Films to Keep You Awake: Stir of Diapers

babyroom8With a newborn baby in tow, newlyweds Juan and Sofia are just getting their family started together as they move into their dream home. Being new parents in an unfamiliar place, the couple decide to use a hand me down baby monitor to keep tabs on their new edition. The reassurance is nice, however, on the very first night Juan hears strange noises coming from the baby monitor, noises that sound very much like someone is talking. This obviously frightens Juan and, in turn, Sofia, but they chalk it up to a faulty monitor. Regardless, Juan feels a bit uncomfortable about what happened, so he goes out and buys a brand-new top of the line baby monitor - complete with an infrared camera - so he can keep a close eye on his newborn. Unfortunately, instead of finding reassurance, Juan learns there is someone (or something) else sharing the house with the him and his family.

Directed by Álex de la Iglesia, The Baby's Room (La habitación del niño) mainly focuses on Juan (Javier Gutiérrez), as it is him who is seeing and hearing these strange things coming from the baby’s bedroom. While babyroomfriends and co-workers would like to, no one really believes what Juan claims he is hearing and seeing, and that includes his own wife. Juan is afraid someone is out to hurt his family, babyroom1and he would do anything to protect them, but unfortunate events unfold in a way that make Juan seem less than stable as a father and husband. He becomes paranoid, believing that there's someone out to hurt his child or even his wife, Sonia, and it gets to the point that he himself may pose a threat to his family. His paranoia feeds an obsession with figuring out what is going on, whether or not it is hurting his relationship, his family or even his job.

The Baby's Room is along the lines of films like Candyman, Stir of Echoes or any movie that has a character with a questionable and/or possibly dangerous obsession involving a haunted past. Whether or not it's Juan's imagination that is causing all of this, he is seeing things, which gives him more than enough of a reason to be infatuated. And it's what Juan sees that is one of the stronger pieces of the film. The infrared baby monitor is nicely used for some genuinely creepy scares, and, much like we all saw in the One Night in Paris video, the baby's glowing eyes are unsettling all by themselves. Now, add in some random dude suddenly appearing next to that baby, and you're talking straight shit stains.

babyroom3The baby monitor is a good device to generate scares as well as adding a hair of originality to an otherwise all too common idea. Now, even though the film does have a familiababyroom6r storyline - and you'll have a good idea what the conclusion could be - The Baby's Room keeps the secret fairly safe. I never knew exactly where the movie was going, even if I had a good idea of where it could end up. Nevertheless, it is a properly executed film on most every other level outside of originality. Smooth camera work, an intense score, great settings, some creative ideas with the baby monitors, and strong acting from both Javier Gutiérrez and Leonor Watling (as the extremely gorgeous Sonia).

As a whole, The Baby's Room is very light on kills, but there is one that I must mention as it is simply incredible. Keeping things spoiler free, there is one death that has the perfect mix of brutality, blood and extreme realism. The music used is seriously intense, and the whole scene plays out in such a frightening and gruesome way that I can't help but compare it to that of classic Argento.

As is the case with most of the features in the 6 Films to Keep You Awake set, The Baby's Room is a shorter film, only running at 80 minutes. This is something that works in the film's favor in some ways, but hurts it in others. There is a lot that happens in this short running time, so the filmmakers did a commendable job trimming the fat. However, things do feel a little rushed at times, but even then, I have seen so many characters go crazy in this type of film that I very much appreciated how lean it is.

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In the end, The Baby's Room is a superbly made horror flick with some well-timed scares that effectively filled-up my diaper with the quickness. Even with a recognizable story, it's a film that executes well enough to keep things from getting stale. It's not perfect, but The Baby's Room is a solid entry into the world of Spanish horror; in fact, it's good enough to stand on its own, even outside of the 6 Film's set.

6 comments:

  1. Glad you dug this one. I just checked out To Let from Jaume Balaguero ( [REC] series) and I think you'd dig it. This seems like a pretty solid series overall and I can't wait to check out the rest of the films.

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  2. The Baby's Room is one of the best of the bunch for sure. I do have a review for To Let waiting in the wings, as well as most all of the other films outside of Specter, which I haven't watched yet. It's a great collection overall, though, and even if there are a few films I didn't love, it is well worth that cash paid!

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  3. Nice... I liked this one a lot too. If I ranked the series, it would definitely be in my top 6. ;-)

    I liked BABY'S ROOM for a lot of reasons, but mostly because of Leonor Watling. Goddamn. Also, like you, I dug how they used the baby monitor as a means of tapping into "the other side". Good stuff. Looking forward to the rest of these posts, hombre.

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  4. Thanks, brotha! Watling is quite the sight indeed, and even if the film would've sucked, it wouldn't have been all bad with her in it!

    It's tough to come up with something original in what is basically a haunted house movie, but the baby monitor is a great way to do so, plus they use it very well. The night-vision monitor alone provides a view creepy enough by itself.

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  5. I liked this one, though not as much as A Christmas Tale. I don't quite know why, but I thought it was a tad draggy at a certain point, strange since the film is only 80 minutes. Still, the performances were great, story creepy, and the ending pretty great. And yes, I'll say what your'e both probably thinking: Leonor Watling has spectacular boobs. Check out THe Oxford Murders (well don't, but you know), also directed by Iglesia and with Watling playing an Irish nurse in a love triangle with John Hurt and Elijah Wood.

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  6. I can see it being a bit draggy at times, but I think that's probably due to how familiar the story is.

    I like A Christmas Tale much better and look at that film as one that is simply perfect for multiple viewings. The Baby's Room, on the other hand, while being a solid horror film, is a good one or two time watch, and that's about it. Unless I need a Watling fix, that is!

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