Childbirth I hear, brings joy and happiness as we welcome a newborn baby into the world that we live in; so how can we put this into a horror film? With The Lullaby there are no smiles, no happy mothers or people coming over to wish the mother well on her journey. Director Darrell Roodt (The Furnace) and frequent collaborator Tarryn-Tanille Prinsloo (Skorokoro) tell a story of a young mother who suffers from visions that either are real or not after childbirth. Think of postpartum depression that been elevated to the point of impossibility. The result is so pale, so bleak that one will stand in the awe and wonder, what is the point of this?
Chloe (Reine Swart) is a young woman from a small town called Eden Rock who returns home after giving birth to a son named Liam. She is suffering from depression and her mother Ruby (Thandi Puren) does little to help her daughter. Their relationship isn’t good and once Chloe starts seeing visions, the household environment turns chaotic in a flash. Ruby turns to Dr. Reed (Brandon Auret) a psychiatrist who believes Chloe is going through depression that will simply pass. What’s interesting is that we are subjected to seeing these visions. They entail a woman dressed in a black cloak attempting to take baby Liam away and just for good measure we get to see violence against the child, not real violence but in the visions.
I do like how Swart reacts when her character is scared of what’s happening, it’s believable and she’s compelling enough. There are some cool close-ups but The Lullaby relies on loud noises to scare the audience and it doesn’t work. It’s clear that the film borrows from Rosemary’s Baby which involved the paranoia of a mother and her baby, but that film built up the tension which makes it memorable. The Lullaby utilizes the threat of a hurt infant and sexual violence to instill fear in the audience. I think it’s cheap and offensive and my question to the filmmakers is, why!?
Verdict 0 out of 5
The Lullaby is so boring at an eighty-six-minute runtime and I didn’t enjoy a single second of it. The violence that is subjected in this film makes last year’s Mother! seem tame, to me it’s offensive and is so off-putting that I can’t imagine anyone who would find this entertaining. The best line is, “Humans are interesting people,” The Lullaby isn’t interesting nor are the people who made this. No style, a script that offers nothing creative at all and a direction that wouldn’t even qualify to make a decent short film, The Lullaby is proof at how low a horror flick can really go…straight to the trash!