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Baby Blues (2013)
Well Go USA
Blu-ray Disc Released: 9/2/2014
All Ratings out of
Extras: No Extras
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 8/30/2014
I don't think that most adults are truly scared by horror movies (right?), but there are certainly things in these films which we find creepy. If done properly, these moments can stay with us. For example, nearly all ofInsidious.) And I think that we all have certain things which make our skin crawl: spiders, zombies, unhinged killers, etc. One thing which seems to be a nearly universal constant is dolls. Intellectually, we know that dolls are harmless toys, but the idea of them moving around when we aren't looking is chilling, no matter how much good will the Toy Story films have put forth. Horror movies have presented plenty of examples of disturbing dolls over the years, and this appeal is clearly international, as we are now treated to the Chinese film Baby Blues.
As Baby Blues opens, a young couple, Hao (Raymond Lam) and Tian Qing (Sing Kwan Janelle), move into their dream house (Which, to the best of my knowledge, is huge by Chinese standards.) Hao works as a songwriter and music producer, while Tian Qing is a blogger. While checking out the house, they find an odd doll, which Tian Qing insists on keeping. Hao is tasked with writing a new song for a pop star, but everyone who hears the song feels that it's too morbid (and it makes some physically ill). Things take a turn for the better when the couple learns that Tian Qing is pregnant. As the pregnancy progresses, odd things continue to happen around the house and Hao is distracted by his work. When the due date arrives, Tian Qing suddenly becomes obsessed with the doll and Hao begins to suspect that it's more than just a toy.
You don't have to have seen many foreign films to know that they can differ greatly from American movies. Ideas of drama or comedy may not come across the same. It may be best to know about these differences when going into Baby Blues. The box art or trailer may lead one to except the film to be a Chinese Chucky (That's fun to say!), but it's actually far from that. In fact, Baby Blues is somewhat hard to describe. Does it contain a sinister doll which appears to be alive? Yes, but that, unfortunately, is not the film's focus.
Instead, the film plays out as more of a drama. The story turns its attention to the marriage of Hao and Tian Qing and their excitement about the pregnancy. Hao begins to work with a new singer and Tian Qing becomes jealous. Once the birth occurs, Tian Qing falls into Post-Partum Depression or the "Baby Blues". (It's very odd to hear the Chinese actors say "Baby Blues".) This leads to some delusional behavior from Tian Qing and Hao is unsure how to handle this.
Shoved into this story is the very awkward tale of a doll which may be alive. Again, they find the doll in the house when they move in, and Tian Qing decides to keep it. This appears to be a doll which would have been bought in a store, but we never learn anything about its background. Instead, we simply get odd close-ups of the doll when something bad happens to a character. Is the doll causing it? That's certainly the implication. It's not until the last act that the doll actually does something and it's not very impressive. (Although I did admire the doll's ingenuity when it used its legs to do a job that it's doll arms couldn't.) The result is something which isn't scary or even the least bit creepy. In fact, some of it is laughable, most notably the scene in which the doll helps Hao to write his song.
Again, dolls are creepy and you would have to go out of your way to make a doll movie which didn't elicit at least one chill. Veteran director Po-Chih Leong is able to achieve this feat, as Baby Blues provides a couple of jump scares at best. The movie can't decided if it wants to be a drama or a horror movie, and it ultimately fails at both.
Baby Blues also never explains where the doll got that sassy outfit on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Well Go USA. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 35 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good, most notably the reds and blues, and the picture is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good and the depth si notable. However, I can't help but wonder why this Blu-ray Disc release doesn't include a 3D version of the movie. Well Go USA brought us Blu-ray 3Ds ofShock Labyrinth, Tormented, and Sadako, so why not this movie? The scenes which were meant to be in 3D are quite obvious. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The doll scare sequences (you’ll see what I’m talking about) offer great audio effects in which the sound goes from the front to the rear channels and back again. We also get notable subwoofer effects during the “shock” scenes.
The Baby Blues Blu-ray Disc doesn't contain any extra features.
Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long