Hell Baby (2013) - Taking a break from the horrific baby horror of the last couple of weeks I went for a new horror comedy called Hell Baby. Leslie Bibb plays a soon to be Mom, Venessa expecting twins and moving into a dilapidated house in post Katrina New Orleans. With her husband Jack ( Rob Corddry) they want to rehab and sell it but have to deal with more than just a bad neighborhood. Quickly learning that the house is haunted but wanting to hold onto their deal the couple stays on. They have a neighbor living in the crawl space, the hilarious F'resnel (Keegan-Michael Key) who shows up for jump scares at the most inconvenient times. He is used for Corddry is the sounding board for a lot the comedy while Key play the comedian. Exposition is the main reason Key keep showing up and he is such a funny guy you don't even mind the silly plot.
Bibb is a good actress, is the more and more possessed Mother-to-be and plays the growing evil seriously which makes the reactions Corddry displays in reaction all the more enjoyable. I believe she is an underrated actress who does a great job moving into this comedy role. Corddry I think of more of a natural comedian is steadfast in his role as the husband and expectant father. Also filling out the cast is actress Riki Lindhome as Venessa's hippie sister Marjorie, two priest sent from the Vatican, Fathers Sebastion (Robert Ben Garant) and Padrigo (Thomas Lennon) and two New Orleans cops Micky (Rob Huebel) and Ron (Paul Scheer).
Marjorie the sister and the naked conversation and oiling with Jack is wonderfully uncomfortable. The scene is long which is a comedy trick in making the uncomfortable scenes longer to bring the audience to a point where they may want to have it over with but then pushing through that barrier. Still the scene works because by the end of the conversation you know who Majorie as a character is. "I didn't know you were circumcised Jack. It's genital mutilation you know, slicing off the tops of boys dicks because a couple thousand year old book about some medicine man named Moses says to do it." This is pretty funny and again Corddry gets to do what he does well and react to the situation.
One of a couple of sexual situation the other of note is a ninety year old Mrs. Nussbaum (Alex Berg in a weird naked suit) gives Jack a blow job under the covers only to be clocked in the head and buried alive.
Sister tries to cleanse the house of evil spirits but instead the group more just gets really high with the cable guy. The bit are not hilarious but there is some reasonably funny stuff in here. Now anyone who reads this blog knows that I have a problem with comedy. The problem is a simple on, I don't find most of it funny. Now here I am undercutting my opinions on this film but hey you good reader deserve the truth.
The thing I did not find funny at all in this film has to do with a recurring bit around eating poor boy sandwiches, slow motion and grunts and groans of satisfaction for way too long of a time just was not funny to me. Remember that hamburger ad where Paris Hilton sexual interaction eating a burger, well that is what they were going for in these scenes. They make the scenes too long stretching the patience of the audience hoping that this will be uncomfortably funny, instead it is just uncomfortable.
It seemed the crew had fun making this film, shot on location in New Orleans the cast got to have a great time when not on the set. I watched an interview with Rob Huebel who relayed how much fun it was and how laid back and fun the town is. Written and directed by the team of Tom Lennon and Robert Ben Garant the film was seen as part of the Sundance Film festival. Playing in the midnight movie part of the festival from what I read it was not very well received. Lennon in interviews is pretty clear that his history in film making is spotty at best. He sees this film as a funny but very stupid movie.
The final scene where the priests and cops come to do the exorcism is silly fun with first the birth of a perfectly normal baby and then a little devil baby. The slapstick antics of the climax are not totally original but they are funny enough. I enjoyed parts of this film but in the end I will not make it a recommendation for this blog.
"Ghost don't kill people, people kill people, and sometimes ghost make people kill people."