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August 28, 2014

Baby Blues

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Po-Chih Leong - 2013
Well Go USA Entertainment Region ! DVD

He doesn't talk, or stalk his victims with any tools for murder, but the malevolent doll in Baby Blues will probably remind a few viewers of Chucky, especially in the earlier films from the Child's Play series. This is a Hong Kong film, in Cantonese, made primarily for a local audience, and as horror films go, fairly mild. As a film from the director best known for The Wisdom of Crocodiles, Baby Blues is a disappointment.

An affluent young couple moves to a huge, modern house. The previous residents have left a doll that looks like a pasty faced Prince Valiant, that has somehow captured the heart of the wife. Hao is a staff songwriter for a record company, while his wife, Tian, is an obsessive blogger. Pressured to come up with a big hit, and a new direction for the company's popular singer, Bobo, Hao gets the idea to write songs about death, inspired by legend of "Gloomy Sunday. Hao's attempts at song writing get an unexpected hand, actually a couple of small feet, when the doll jumps on the keyboard of Hao's piano. As the film continues, it becomes apparent that the doll has more on its mind than writing a song that seems to coincidentally make the listener vomit or find themselves in a life threatening situation.

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Even worse, Tian becomes pregnant with twin boys. One of the infants dies after birth. Tian names the doll Jimmy, the name of the dead child, and becomes obsessed with treating the doll as a member of the family. Post-partum depression becomes Post-partum obsession. Later, Hao learns that previous victims of the house were two sets of twins.

The film was originally presented in 3D. The record company president blows perfect smoke rings at the audience while smoking a cigar. The doll frequently points an accusing finger towards the audience. The only other time that the 3D might have made a difference when a car spins out of control, briefly flying, before crashing in a nose-dive.

A bigger mystery might be about the making of this film. Calvin Poon, a filmmaker of some acclaim, is credited for a first draft of the screenplay. I've been unable to find anything in English concerning Poon's work on this film, although I suspect that Baby Blues was compromised in various ways primarily to pass mainland Chinese censors. Inadvertently, Baby Blues reminds me why I have a possibly irrational love of Thai horror movies. What I love about horror movies from Thailand is that no matter how utterly nutty, bizarre or downright stupid the given premise or the characters, Thai filmmakers usually run straight ahead without fear of such concepts as logical plotting or good taste. When a horror movie has neither smarts, tension, nor any frightening moments, you have to wonder what's scaring the filmmakers?

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Posted by Peter Nellhaus at August 28, 2014 07:09 AM