Bijou Phillips has just made the tough decision to leave college to prepare for the impending birth of her first child with boyfriend James Murray (who almost manages to hide his British accent). Moving in with Murray and his paraplegic younger brother (Raphaël Coleman), Phillips goes into labour early. This baby wants out, and it wants out now, damnit! Once the C-section is performed, though, the newborn leaves everyone in the operating room not named ‘Mommy’ in a bloody mess. This baby ain’t right, y’all. When the cops come asking questions, Phillips claims to not remember a thing. Hey, she was all doped up, don’t forget! In the meantime, the happy couple take bubby home with them. And that’s when the real fun begins. An insatiable appetite for mummy’s teat, poor bunny rabbits, and well, you don’t wanna know what else. It’s alive, and it’s teething....big time!
The original 1974 film from Larry Cohen was an interesting film stemming from an admittedly priceless premise. However, it wasn’t such a brilliant film that a remake would seem particularly offensive. It lacked polish and was a bit dry and austere at times. There were certainly areas to be improved, at any rate. Although Millennium Films have a dodgy track record (garbage like “The Black Dahlia, “88 Minutes” and the remake of “The Wicker Man”), you shouldn’t hold it against this flick from Josef Rusnak (“The Thirteenth Floor”). Besides, Amicus Films also have their names attached to it, and back in the day they were second only to Hammer in quality British horror. If you ask me, it’s hard to hate a film about a bloodthirsty baby. I mean, it’s the kind of thing you just have to like, right? Right? Don’t look at me like that!
The funny thing is, I don’t think either film really capitalises on the absurd, schlocky, and downright hilarious concept as much as they could and should. Credit where it’s due, though, Rusnak seems to have achieved the possible: This is the best performance of Bijou Phillips’ entire awful career. For once she’s not playing white trash (i.e. She’s not playing herself), and is thankfully low-key. For once she’s actually tolerable. What I loved about her character is that for the most part we’re unsure whether she’s getting all maternal and covering up the baby’s ‘mess’ or if she’s simply aware that killer babies are absurd and she’ll end up having to take the rap. However, she also makes the ridiculous decision at one point to call out to her newborn baby. Yes, she calls out to him. What’s that joke about the three-legged dog? I also thought that even though the quick cuts add to the idea that Phillips only remembers things in flashes, that idea didn’t quite come off. I mean, how knocked-out on meds was she that she couldn’t remember her freaky demon baby being born and going all psycho on the medical stuff? Didn’t buy it.
There’s some pretty fun moments in this, even if like I say, the concept isn’t quite taken far enough into camp for my liking. I loved the moment where at the exact same moment the umbilical cord is cut, it appears the power goes out in the delivery room. The aftermath is extremely bloody, so it’s a shame it’s just an aftermath. I loved it when the baby ate a bird and a rabbit, too. I mean, yeah, normal babies do that sort of thing don’t they? Must be teething or something. Hilarious. Poor ‘ol Bugs sure got a rough deal there. I also found it amusing that a newborn baby could mess around with a fuse box. How low must that thing be? I’m chalking all of this up to intentional deadpan humour, by the way (And playing things po-faced is the right idea). The best scene is when the baby just tears someone apart and blood splatters all over the inside of their car. We don’t get to see it all, but we see enough. Fun times.
This film is a bit of fun, and better than it could’ve been. It’s just that it could’ve been even better, if its cheesier side were embraced a bit more. It might not really improve upon the original (and it’s a pretty loose remake), but it’s probably about on par.