They both have babies, they both have supernatural bitches after those babies. So which one did I like better?
THE LULLABY (2017)
The Lullaby is yet another carefully polished supernatural film (all the perfectly timed scares and ideally framed shots are in place) about one woman being terrorized by an evil specter that may just be a figment of her mental state…
…and it all begins with a scene about mother and baby in colonial times. Do I even have to say more for you to guess which movie got on my nerves, and not in the good scary way?
I really can’t anymore with movies that delve deep into the psychological state of mothers and wrap it in a supernatural bow to make it look like a gift you want to open. It’s what’s on the inside that matters, dammit. And inside this box is a movie about a miserable mother.
In fact, this modern age single mother looks miserable about having a baby right from the start in the delivery room. It only gets worse when she goes to live with her mother and all they do is fight. Her mother is an emotional mess, too. Whatever happened to all the strong, loving mothers of horror like Dee Wallace and JoBeth Williams?
It’s definitely a reflection not on the movie but on my issues with tastes in horror, but…OMG this movie is so fucking annoying!
Aside from the fighting, the daughter is fricking manic-depressive, keeps seeing something attacking her baby, and gets the blame for endangering her baby every time. Her being a psycho mess is bad enough as it is, but like seriously, after the second time she appears to fuck up—by leaving her newborn alone in a tub—any normal grandmother would have forbidden her to go near the baby and filed for full custody.
But then we wouldn’t have a movie. I’d be fine with that.
The mom sends her to a doctor for therapy, so we get a bunch of psychoanalysis to determine she has postpartum. But we know better, because clearly there’s something supernatural going on in her nursery…or in her head.
There are a few glimpses of a ghost demon woman who wants the baby, but it’s really all about the battle between mother and daughter. We knew it was all leading to this, because it wasn’t leading anywhere else.
THE NURSERY (2018)
Aaaaah. A simple, low budget flick about a ghost girl chasing a babysitter and her friends around a house. Now this is what I’m talking about.
The ghost girl might be after the baby, but this one is in no way babycentric. The baby is pretty much forgotten about in the nursery, and we rarely go in there, despite the film’s title. This is an all-out supernatural slasher in which the teens totally neglect the baby. Now this is what I’m taking about.
After a brief meeting with the couple she’s sitting for, the babysitter is kept company by three friends, and pretty soon they’re all seeing a Sadako clone ghost girl in one way or another. And every time it happens, everyone is like “What did you see? What did you see?” and the answer is always silence or “Nothing,” even after they’ve already said they saw something! These exchanges aren’t exactly the film’s finest moments, but they are the kind of moments that make for a great b-movie.
To keep with the times, the ghost texts them scary photos with ominous messages, and the babysitter’s brother video chats with her regularly as he researches what went on in the house. The ghost girl even makes an appearance in a television.
Fortunately for us, the kids don’t leave the house. They watch a Bela Lugosi film, have sex, and despite being terrified of the ghost, continue to go off alone to roam dark corridors and rooms without ever putting on a light.
It’s so damn ridiculous but makes for plenty of atmosphere, chilling setups, and cheesy ghost girl scares. And the film dares to use virtually natural dark when there are no lights on in a room, which is quite unnerving in the last few climactic scenes.
The Nursery made me feel like I’d rented a direct-to-video film from the horror section in the video store circa 1985, so I was completely satisfied.