HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Baby Blues
HTS Overall Score:77
It’s that time of year once more, the time when the ghouls and goblins come out to play on home video, and what better way to start the season off right is with some good, creepy Asian horror. The Asian horror genre has given so much to us with inspiration for a myriad of creepy horror movies from “The Possession” to “The Ring” and back again. Usually the Asian counterpart severely trumps the U.S. remake or inspired movie, but here, not so much. I was eagerly anticipating “Baby Blues” because it’s been quite a while since we’ve had a good possessed doll story. I’m a HUGE fan of “Chucky” and really enjoy the weird twists that Hong Kong and Japanese cinema takes with the supernatural horror elements, but ended up really being a rather failed attempt at all its undertakings during the 93 minute runtime
Our tale of terror (I use that term lightly) starts out with a young couple moving into their dream home, where they find out that they are living across the street from a homeless old man who warns them of impending doom if they stay in the house. The husband, Tao (Raymond Lam) is a songwriter for a successful recording agency, although his success has been less than stellar lately. Struggling to find a new song for their latest rising star, BOBO, he takes inspiration by turning to the macabre. Trying to find a song about death, suffering that will shake the music industry up and put him back on the top he creates a song in the presence of an eerie doll that was already in his home upon moving in. Soon after the song takes form things start to happen. BOBO is involved in a fatal accident after listening to the track, the next singer in line nearly dies and soon “accidents” start appearing all over the place (with the face of the creepy doll in the background to constantly remind the viewer that, yes, it is an evil doll).
Amidst this reign of bad luck, there seems to be a spot of sunlight as the wife, Snowy (Sing Kwan Janelle), becomes pregnant with twins. However this ray of sunshine is short lived as it becomes obvious to the viewer that the doll is exerting an evil presence on the unborn children as well, so much so that one of them is stillborn. Now Snowy suffers from Post-Partum depression, otherwise known as Baby Blues, fades off into delusion, believing that BOTH of her children are still alive. Doting on her first born, Adam, she also attaches to the doll, believing him to be her son. Tao struggles immensely with the desire to take care of his wife, but is deeply disturbed by her attachment to the doll. Realizing that the doll seems to be having some kind of sway over Snowy, he incorporates the help of his sister in law in order to get to the bottom of this before something happens to his family.
“Baby Blues” had some potential, but tries to add in too many sub plots and dram to the equation to really be an effective horror movie. In all honesty, except for the last 30 minutes there was next to NO creep factor to the movie. In fact it was more unintentionally hilarious as you’re beaten over the head with a droll pointing a finger at the screen just before an accident occurs. The first 45 minutes are all pre pregnancy and the story tries to weave in family drama, accusations of an illicit affair as well as an annoying sister in law. Once the baby is born, though, the story does pick up a bit and then we finally see a few creepy scenes. The doll starts to take on some very obvious life like qualities and starts moving around a bit, making it seem like the story is going to culminate with some supernatural horror. Unfortunately the last few minutes takes a nose dive as they decided to go full on “Chucky” on us with a cackling doll bent on murder and a few scenes lifted right out of the first “Child’s Play” movie.
I really wanted to like “Baby Blues”, as doll horrors can be done very well, but this one just didn’t succeed din much of anything. It isn’t some horrible movie, but just flounders in not much of anything. The horror is very lacking, the drama isn’t really dramatic and the love story doesn’t ring true. Sad to say, but this one is rather disappointing on all accounts. Even the direction feels helter skelter as they try to figure out just what type of horror movie they’re making as well.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=25241[/img]If the story isn’t going to grab you, the video certainly will as Well Go USA has given us a simply fantastic 2.35:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray to enjoy. From the get go the film just looks this shy of perfect, with natural colors, solid saturation of colors and a sense of crispness that is mesmerizing. The water shots in particular look simply amazing as you can see every drop of water dripping slowly off of the face, the hands with perfect clarity. Detail is through the roof, with only the occasional scene where it looked a tad grainy, usually only the interior dark shots had this. The outside shots are demo worthy for certain and remind me of the beauty and grace of some of the scenes in “The Fall”. Black levels are beautiful and show no flaws or negatives that I can ascertain. Shadow detail is impressive and no crush anywhere in the picture, with the only fault being two short instances of color banding in the darkness near the end scene. Being that the short film is the only thing on the disc with a few previews the disc shows no compression anomalies and is given some solid bitrate. If it wasn’t for those few instances of mosquito noise in the darker scenes this would be a perfect 5/5 picture, as the rest of the movie is simply jaw dropping.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=25249[/img]While the video is JUUUUUUST shy of perfect, the Cantonese 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio pushes past it and makes itself superb in every aspect. The first few moments of “Baby Blues” lets the viewer in for what to expect as the sound of the Victory cruiser throbs with power and runs the speakers through a gambit of excellent directionality queues. The film has a bit of a haunting melody throughout its core and that melody dances and travels through all the speakers, creating an immersive power that just sucks you into the audio. Dialogue is perfectly balanced with the rest of the track, but the real winner here is the ambient sounds, or more accurately all the detail and precision given to those sounds. The sounds of breaking glass, the rasp of a foot on the floor, dishes being put away in the cabinet, all of them can be heard perfectly and the directionality is fantastic as I found myself aware of WHERE in the room everything was emanating from. LFE is amazing, and really kicks in whenever Tao’s Motorcycle roars down the street. Simply put, this is a reference level track that is going to amazing anyone who sits down to listen.
• Theatrical Trailer
“Baby Blues” had potential, but squandered it by not being much of any of the avenues it pursued. It tried to be supernatural horror, but added in family drama, and the drama didn’t work since it kept flitting back to the horror side, and then the story couldn’t decide whether to be supernatural horror or go all “Chucky” on us. The second half of the film was definitely creepier than the first half, but the mish mash of ideas that never really was allowed flight killed the movie for the most part. Hong Kong horror has been influential in many American horror films, but I think “Baby Blues” can safely be categorized as soon to be forgotten. The only saving grace to the film is the incredible audio and video. I’d skip it unless you’re really yearning for another demo disc to show off the home theater.
Starring: Sing Kwan Janelle, Raymond Lam, Hoi-Pang Lo
Directed by: Po-Chih Leong
Written by: Bak-Ming Wong
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: Cantonese: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Cantonese DD 2.0
Studio: Well Go USA
Runtime: 92 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 2nd 2014
Buy Baby Blues Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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