Hell Baby

| December 31, 2013

Jack and Vanessa (Rob Corddry and Leslie Bibb) are on the verge of the next stage of their married life.  They’re about to have twins, and they’ve just bought a new home to fix up and raise a family in.  Unfortunately, the house has been nicknamed the house of blood with a string of gruesome murders happening within its walls.  When Vanessa becomes possessed by a demonic presence in the house, Jack is forced to do whatever it takes to save his wife and his unborn children.  On the case are two renegade priests, Father Padrigo and Father Sebastian (Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant, who also co-wrote and co-directed the film).

Basically, Hell Baby is another installment in the Scary Movie franchise, but with one key distinction:  rather than spoofing specific moments in specific films, Hell Baby serves as a parody of the horror genre, alluding to specific films, but mostly creating content from original content, which abides by the conventions of the horror genre.  Sure, the humor is just as crass as in the various horror spoofs, but there are definitely points for originality.

Actually, the things I enjoy most about Hell Baby are really simple; the fact that Paul Scheer (The League) and Rob Huebel (Human Giant) play characters named after each other, or Keegan-Michael Key’s (Key and Peele) running joke of startling Jack and it scaring both of them equally, or even Riki Lindholm’s (Much Ado About Nothing) ironic diatribe about the subjugation of women while appearing completely nude and rubbing herself down with baby oil.

I’ve grown to become a huge fan of Thomas Lennon’s other work, with the strong exception to Reno 911.  For some reason, I never found that funny, which is unfortunate since the front of the case for Hell Baby promises it’s from the creators of Reno 911.  However, knowing what this cast is capable of, I was fairly sure that this would not be in the small percentage of Lennon projects that I didn’t respond positively to.

The cast is populated by some of the best comedic talent working today and everyone fits into their role like a glove, but I think my favorite performance in the film comes from Leslie Bibb.  I can only remember seeing her as the intrepid reporter in the first two Iron Man movies, but she shows a lot of depth in her portrayal of Vanessa; nailing the comedic aspects of the script along with the creepy stuff in perfect balance.  However, Paul Scheer has my favorite line:  “playing it safe don’t kill hell babies.”

Special Features include over 40 minutes of deleted scenes and outtakes.  Available now on Blu-ray and dvd from Millennium Entertainment.

About the Author:

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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