Review of “The Lullaby” by The Headless Critic
The Lullaby – 2018
Production by: Phoenix Films
Distribution by: Uncork’d Entertainment
“Siembamba mama’s little baby, siembamba mama’s little baby. Wring it’s neck and throw it in a ditch, step on its head make sure it’s dead.”
Returning home with her mother after the birth of her fatherless child, teenage Chloe (Reine Swart) struggles with postpartum depression and adjusting to life as a mom. Though her mother Ruby (Thandi Puren) is there to help her, the incessant crying, lack of sleep, breast feeding and overall change of motherhood causes Chloe to slip into a dark depression. The longer Chloe goes without sleep the more paranoid and anxious she becomes, leading her to darker and more violent hallucinations about her son. “Siembamba mama’s little baby, siembamba mama’s little baby. Wring it’s neck and throw it in a ditch, step on its head make sure it’s dead.”
Chloe begins to believe a dark entity is after her child. As Ruby and those around Chloe begin to question her sanity and whether she’s abusing her baby, Chloe becomes more convinced that the entity is real and bent to do her baby harm. Desperate to protect her son, Chloe withdraws from those who don’t believe her. The baby is definitely in danger but is it from a hallucinogenic mother or is evil after her bastard child? “Siembamba mama’s little baby, siembamba mama’s little baby. Wring it’s neck and throw it in a ditch, step on its head make sure it’s dead.”
The Lullaby, originally titled Siembamba is a South African import tackling the struggles of postpartum depression. Reine Swart captures that struggle well in her lead role. Her makeup may be over the top to show a weakened, sleep deprived mother but her acting is impressively on point. As her character loses all credibility of being sane, you will feel the horror of her not knowing if she’s the danger to her own child or if it’s something far more sinister.
South African director Darrell Roodt brings us a Lullaby that’s far darker than your jump scare American fair, frightening you at your very soul. The most innocent of babies is utilized to terrify you in gory scenes that may be too much for some viewers. Freeze a baby, clip a baby, scratch a babies face off… “Siembamba mama’s little baby, siembamba mama’s little baby. Wring it’s neck and throw it in a ditch, step on its head make sure it’s dead.”
Don’t let the generic American title blend in with the rest of the crowd. This crib of horrors has teeth. It’s a dark film that will make you feel icky and those don’t come along often. Some of the cinematography is stunning yet the films editing leaves something to be desired. While Reine Swart’s performance will make you want to take a shower, Brandon Auret never quiet fits the role of Dr. Timothy Reed. Filmmaking follies aside, there’s a base of horror here that we just aren’t seeing in a growing cookie cutter mold. It’s pleasantly different and one horror fans who aren’t sensitive to baby violence should find.
3 out of 5 Headless Critics
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