Well, this one was crazy. I mean, I knew it was going to be insane and spine-chilling from the start considering the opening scene features a creepy voice over and a baby having its neck snapped on screen. Valhala Productions and Phoenix Films created something dark as Hell with The Lullaby and it’s coming at you on March 2, 2018 when Uncork’d Entertainment releases it to select theaters and on demand outlets. The film follows a young woman, Chloe, as she returns to her childhood home and the care of her mother after just giving birth to her first child, a son. The reality of being a new, young mother has its wear and tear on Chloe, as she struggles to come to terms with her new life and all the challenges that caring for a baby can bring. As her mind and body continue to deteriorate, Chloe starts hearing voices and witnessing full body apparitions of a woman in black. Are the figments all a part of her imagination, or is an evil, centuries old spirit after her son? Reine Swart, Thandi Puren, Brandon Auret, Deanre Reiners and Dorothy-Ann Gould star in this psychological horror film from writer Tarryn-Tanille Prinsloo and director Darrell Roodt.
The Lullaby was filmed in South Africa, and what’s cool about that is we get to see how horror is handled in another country, outside of the typical Hollywood gaze. In this case, I’d say South Africa pulled off an incredible, pulse pounding, hair raising feature that rivals most American movies in terms of emotional content. From the start, I knew that The Lullaby was demented and horrifying, but I didn’t account for the way it moved me on an emotional level. Chloe needed to fight to keep that baby safe, and the script from Prinsloo leaves the audience with no choice but to join the battle with her. A baby is the embodiment of innocence, so it’s no wonder that a sinister force would want to harm the newborn. As adults, or any other human with a soul, seeing children or infants in peril is hard to watch, especially when you know the outcome could mean death. The Lullaby keeps the audience on the edge of their seat with this simple tactic. Save the baby, or it dies. Simple yet super effective. I know the suspense was at a near choking level, and I watch horror movies as a side job!
Although the shit hits the fan rather quickly in terms of horror content and a traditional haunting, it’s the creepiness that’s slow-burning and takes a hold of your psyche without you knowing it. One solid jump scare and a scene reminiscent of Poltergeist were two extra layers of genre goodness that greatly increased this film’s appeal to audiences. Darrell Roodt and Tarryn Prinsloo know horror, and they knew all the right moments to hit you in the face with it. Still, underneath all the bizarre occurrences and ghostly attacks, you can still find relate-able themes and loads of drama. Chloe is desperately trying to repair her relationship with her mother, and her mother is just as damaged as she is. That’s going to speak to the female audience members on such a deep level, and if you add on the theme of being a fearful, new mother… well, this one’s going to punch you in the gut. And in between all this mess we get glimpses of romance, uncomfortable therapy sessions, and moments of real happiness. The mood is all ways up and down, up and down. And when it’s down, prepare yourselves! The Lullaby gets erratic and alarming.
As a production, I have absolutely nothing to harp on. The cinematography, camera quality, and editing is top notch and suited best for movie theaters. Stunning visuals! Props to cinematographer Justus De Jager and editor Leon Gerber. I’d also like to acknowledge Andrew and Samuel Frauenstein for serving as producers, and helping The Lullaby to becoming a successful supernatural horror film that deserves to be seen. Finally, the acting is award winning and star quality. Literally every cast member pulled in an enviable performance. The Lullaby begs the question: is history repeating itself, or did it ever really stop? Well shot, incredibly acted, filled with themes, drama and terrifying scenes of ghostly activity. What more could you want? The Lullaby is unnerving and poised to shock your senses. I highly recommend you check it out when it’s released on March 2, 2018 courtesy of Uncork’d Entertainment. Final Score: 8.5 out of 10.