Hell Baby (2013)

You Had Me at “Perky New Boobs”

Hell Baby (2013)Because of my taste in podcasts, I have been beaten over the head with information about today’s movie for quite some time.  Thomas Lennon is a frequent guest of some of my favorite podcasts, and his involvement in today’s movie caused him to plug it frequently.  And Doug Benson’s obsession with the full-frontal nude scene of one of his friends in this movie led him to talk about it even more frequently.  Recently, while listening to one of these podcasts, Lennon mentioned the fact that this movie was available on multiple platforms on demand.  It was time that I checked this movie out.  And thus my Xbox and credit card were able to connect me (finally) with Hell Baby, written and directed by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, and starring Rob Corddry, Leslie Bibb, Keegan-Michael Key, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon, Riki Lindhome, Michael Ian Black, and Kumail Nanjiani.

Expecting couple, Jack (Rob Corddry) and Vanessa (Leslie Bibb), move into a decrepit house in New Orleans, where they quickly meet F’Resnel (Keegan-Michel Key), a neighbor who says he lives down the street but seems unconcerned with going to his home and instead opts to hang out in the crawlspace.  He also informs Jack and Vanessa that their new house is generally referred to as “The House of Blood,” a reputation it earned from frequent murders on the premises.  Strange things start to happen around the house, and Vanessa starts acting very strange.  Jack decides they need the help of psychiatrist Dr. Michael Marshall (Michael Ian Black), when they more likely need the help of two priests from the Vatican, Father Sebastian (Robert Ben Garant) and Father Padrigo (Thomas Lennon).  On top of what they’re already dealing with, they also have to deal with two police officers – Micky (Rob Huebel) and Ron Huebel (Paul Scheer) – who believe Jack killed a crazy old lady (Alex Berg) in the neighborhood…because he kind of did.

I know that Garant and Lennon’s movies have typically not done well with the critics, but I’m not like the other critics.  In fact, I’m barely a critic at all.  I liked Reno 911, I liked the Reno 911 movie, and I even liked Balls of Fury.  And I liked this movie as well.  If one were so inclined to review this movie as a horror movie, they’d be in for a disappointment as the movie is not particularly scary.  They don’t seem altogether interested in making this movie scary.  They have a couple of brief startles, but that’s as far as it gets.  And then some of it would be a little too predictable, like where they were going with the spear-like, constantly-electrocuting lamp that Jack kept playing with throughout the movie.  And how is no one going to see the breach in logic when Vanessa was trying to convince Jack to kill the cops?  They know too much?  About what?!  Turns out the old lady wasn’t even dead, so they know everything about the nothing you did wrong?  Sure, you tried to bury her alive, but I’m sure she wouldn’t rat you out if you gave up some of the D that she was after, Jack.  So does the fact that the movie isn’t scary and the fact that it’s predictable mean it’s bad?  No.  Garant and Lennon’s movies are usually just written to set up funny situations, and this movie is different only in that it’s a horror version of that.  There are plenty enough funny moments throughout this movie to make it worth the watch.  I personally wasn’t a big fan of the po’boy scenes that they spent a lot of time on in the movie, but others might find it hilarious.

The budget was probably really low on this movie, so it wouldn’t really make sense to spend a lot of time talking about the look.  A lot of the movie worked really well.  The settings were creepy, the sets were nice, and the gore was pretty well done.  I was never really convinced by the makeup on the creepy old lady, but I wouldn’t want the movie to be without her because some funny moments came from that character.  I don’t usually pay much mind to continuity mistakes either, but there was a blood spot on Rob Corddry’s shirt before the scene where he got injured.  It’s like this movie wasn’t filmed sequentially or something!  I just like pointing out when I actually notice that kind of thing.

I think the biggest sell of this movie is the cast.  Practically every single name I listed in the cast above belongs to people I love and find hilarious.  Keegan-Michael Key pretty much runs away with every scene he was in.  His introduction scene was pretty hilarious, and he keeps that pace going for the rest of the movie.  The same could be said for Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon.  And for Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer’s scenes as well.  And Rob Corddry.  And the one scene I had heard about before I decided to watch this movie did not disappoint, and that was the full-frontal nude scene from Riki Lindhome.  She looked absolutely fantastic.  But that scene also made me mad because Keegan-Michael Key gets to hug her while she’s completely nude.  And he probably STILL got paid to do the movie!  The only complaint I would have for the cast is that I would’ve liked to see more from Michael Ian Black and Kumail Nanjiani.  I love both of those guys, and I know them to be hilarious people, but they had very small parts in the movie.

Hell Baby gave me so much more than I expected.  Since all I expected going into this movie was to see Riki Lindhome naked, it probably wasn’t that difficult to meet and exceed those expectations.  The story was fairly simple, and the look of the movie was only decent, but the people they cast for this movie elevated it to a place that allows me to feel perfectly comfortable recommending that you guys give it a shot.  I didn’t do any research about where you’d be able to find this movie, but I think it’s supposed to be on all major On Demand places.  I either rented it from Xbox or from Amazon.  So go do that now.  Hell Baby gets “Oh, that’s cool!  This place has a nickname already!” out of “Could be the devil; could be an ex-girlfriend on PCP.”

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The Last House on the Left (2009)

I have no idea why I decided to rent this movie. I generally think remakes are shit, I thought the original movie was shit, so perhaps I thought that would cancel itself out. Let’s see if it did, in today’s review of the remake of The Last House on the Left.

The Last House on the Left (with Sara Paxton, Monica Potter, and Riki Lindhome as the only names I recognize) is a horror movie remake about 2 girls (one of them being Sara Paxton) who meet a boy and go back to his hotel room with him looking for weed. Then the rest of his family show up (one of which is Riki Lindhome). Turns out they’re escaped criminals who are pretty well crazified. So they kidnap these girls and take ’em on a ride. Shortly after they pass by Paxton’s house (The titular last house on the left hand side of the road), Paxton burns Lindhome with the cigarette lighter from the car and tries to escape, which causes them to crash the car into a tree. Then the second kidnapee tries to run away, gets caught, and then gets stabbed for her troubles. Then they rape Paxton. Paxton is not fond of this and hits the main dude, Krug, with a rock. She runs off and climbs into the water to sacrifice herself to the mighty god Poseidon, and then Krug shoots her in the back and we are lead to believe that she dies here (as she did in the original). Next, the 4 kidnapper/raper/murderers find their way up to the final house on the northwestern side of the street. Turns out it’s Paxton’s parents (one of which is Monica Potter). The dad is a doctor and treats one of their broken noses and they set them up for the night in the guest house. After the kidnappers are all over there, the parents find that Paxton has dragged herself home. Soon they figure out that the 4 kidnappers are the cause of their daughter’s state, and they proceed to get their revenge.

So, I’m not sure why this movie received the critical reception it did. Not because it’s a good movie (it’s not), but because the original got much better reviews. The original was somewhere in the 80s on Rotten Tomatoes, and the remake was in the 40s. Both are crap, but the new one is slightly better crap. I’m not so sure why people give such credit to old movies, putting the band-aid of “camp” on them to explain why they’re stupid. In the first movie, the revenge the family took upon the killers for their daughter (who, as I said, died in the original) took the form of Home Alone style murder-pranks. I don’t remember all of them, but I do remember one involved slippery stuff on the floor and another was water on the floor and an electrified door knob. And this was their way of taking revenge for the RAPE AND MURDER OF THEIR ONLY DAUGHTER! It’s like Home Alone watched the original and said “How can we do this, but make it for kids?”

Now for the segment I like to call “Why you suck”, where I will detail stupid things that caught my attention in this movie. (Psst. That’s not actually what I want to name it, but I do like to point these things out) In the beginning of the movie one thing that made me laugh was that Paxton decides to take a swim in the pond and they play some metal-ass music over the top of a peaceful, uneventful scene of a girl swimming. Then, shortly after, they watch her get dressed for like a minute. I grant you she’s hot, but if you ain’t showing anything but her stomach and underwear, we can move on. Also, all the trouble starts when they meet the boy who apparently has a weed connection. How do they meet him? He tries to buy cigarettes from one of the girls but is underage. You trying to tell me this kid knows how to get weed but has no idea how to find a cigarette? When the daughter comes back towards the end, Dr. Dad operates on her to fix the gunshot, but it shows it like you’re actually watching an episode of ER. It just seems to go on and on and is boring. It’s not like she seems like she’s in danger of dying either. This is actually common in the movie. Every scene seems so drawn out, as if to create tension, but there’s nothing about this movie that made me tense. And the final death is the GOOFIEST thing I’ve seen on film. I won’t spoil it here, but I will if you ask me, and you’ll agree.

One of the biggest things I hate about this movie is it takes the things I hate most about 90% of horror movies: that they can’t muster up REAL chills and scares so they settle with some gore and old ladies slapping their hand on the window in a drawn out quiet scene. These things qualify as gross and startling, neither is scary. Also, they left out a scene from the first one where the mom leads one of the murderers away and starts to, shall we say, perform fellatio on him. Then she promptly bites his wang off. Come on, movie! That’s comedy gold! Also, when they kill the first guy (the same guy who SHOULD’VE been wang-less by the end of the movie), the parents look like they’re about to throw up, as if they’re disgusted at what they did. I don’t know about everyone else, but I think if I had the people that raped and shot my daughter, I’d probably do worse and be able to get a good night’s sleep that night.

The only positive thing I have about this movie (besides it being superior to the original) is that it is interesting, though not redeemable, that the first half of the movie is a horror film for the kidnapped girls, and the second half is a horror film for the kidnappers. I’d like to see that in a better movie I think.

And now, completely off topic, it was not until right before starting my review that I realized why I kept thinking that I recognized Riki Lindhome. It’s because she’s one half of Garfunkel and Oates, the comedy music duo. I became so sad when I found that out. And why? Because she had her titties out through half of her scenes in the movie. I just wanted to bring up this strange thing that happens to me in regards to hot actresses. Before they do a nude scene, I find myself very intrigued by the possibility of getting to see one. The second I get to see a nude scene, I feel my respect for her drain out and I’m not interested anymore. Now, they can still be respected (say, Julianne Moore, for instance), but it’s a long road to get there, and the nude scene had better be for a movie that is worthwhile and in a scene where it was necessary to the story. This movie Lindhome just walked into a room and basically said “THIS SHIRT IS SO DAMN STIFLING! I GOTTA LET THEM TITTIES BREATHE!” I still like you, Riki, but make better decisions in the future … like Kate Micucci! I haven’t seen her titties yet, so I’m still lookin!

So, the moral of this story is “don’t go trying to meet new people, or you’ll get raped and killed”. Words to live by. I give this movie a “If you have to watch one, pick this one. But you definitely do not have to watch one”. Out of negative 3.