FEARNET Movie Review: 'Baby Shower'


I caught a festival submission cut of a bizarre but entertaining Chilean horror film called Baby Shower about a year ago, but since I wasn't sure it was a "final cut" (and also because the film festival didn't book it), I put my review on the back burner until it received some sort of American release. It played a few festivals, made no real noise, and is now available not on DVD, but exclusively on Netflix's Instant Watch section. I have no idea if this is a new release structure for low-budget foreign horror films, but the good news is that (at least) Netflix subscribers can enjoy the gore-soaked lunacy that is Pablo Illanes' Baby Shower.

As the title plainly suggests, this is a horror film about a baby shower, but there are serious problems afoot at this particular get-together. The seriously pregnant Angela, for example, has befriended a kooky new-age midwife who (uh oh) runs a secret cult full of murderous lunatics. To make matters worse, Angela's three shower guests are a selfish, bitchy trio indeed -- plus it turns out that one of them has been sleeping with Angela's husband. Plus they're really rotten friends.
After an effective-enough parcel of set-up and character development, one of the side characters gets hacked up good, and thus begins an "all in one night" bloodbath in which loyalties are tested, friendships are destroyed, and at least one person steps barefoot into a bear trap. Aside from the frequent doses of shock value and mild creepiness, Baby Shower keeps afloat during the slow spots by presenting a rather compelling collection of character dynamics; Angela, for example, is clearly the heroine / victim, but as the movie goes on she seems a lot less innocent. The matriarch of the baby-hunting cult starts out as simply off-putting, but gradually evolves into a rather fascinating powerhouse of a villainess, and the three visitors, while wholly unpleasant when things are calm, slowly become a lot more interesting once the knives come out and the bear traps start snapping.
It's probably not for all tastes, and it's even a little distasteful during a few tough moments, but Baby Shower looks great, boasts a fast pace and a strong score, and (best of all) it ultimately culminates in a truly over-the-top series of scrapes, chases, escapes, and seriously nasty dispatches. Ingrid Isensee (as Angela) and Patricia Lopez (as the freak lunatic baby-craver) serve as effective counter-balances to one another, but the women playing the trio of disparately garish "friends" (Claudia Burr, Kiki Rojo, Francisca Merino) add a lot of colorful bitchiness to the proceedings. Horror geeks should have a good time with Baby Shower, and while I'd be curious to hear what the female horror junkies have to say about it, I'd advise them to stay away from this flick if they're currently in their third trimester.

Read FEARnet's Partner Reviews for Baby Shower