Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The Baby's Room (La Habitacio del Nino)


(2006) ***

Juan and Sonia move to a big house in a nice neighborhood, somewhere in Spain. They spent all their money on the house, and have very little left, so they are grateful when Sonia’s sister brings by a baby monitor as a house-warming gift. They use it one night and hear a lot of strange disturbances, including what sounds like someone yelling at their baby. Worried, but convinced it’s just radio interference, Juan goes out to buy a video baby monitor. He starts seeing men in his child’s room that vanish by the time he runs down the hall. Juan grows increasingly paranoid and psychotic in his quest to figure out what is happening in his house, as can only be seen on the baby monitor.



The Baby’s room, while cinematically unsophisticated, is still able to depict the downward spiral of its protagonist very well. Juan begins the film as kind of a dick. He’s the kind of character you hope gets killed by the ghost early so that Sonia can be the protagonist. He chides his wife for no reason, pressures her into sex, unabashedly hits on the sales girl at the baby store, etc. Basically, he begins as the perfect “pipe in the ass” candidate. (are we still using that term?) But, as he gets more and more frustrated in his quest, you actually begin to feel for him and sort of even root for him.


So, 3 stars for the character development. I can’t give it more, because cinematically, this looks like something a 1st year film student could’ve slapped together in a weekend. It’s a shame too, because the way babies look on video monitors really is creepy. I use one regularly, and the way my cute little baby looks as he wiggles in a bleached out light with glowing eyes is disturbing. This movie could’ve taken advantage of this in a number of ways, but we only ever see Juan looking at the monitor. We never get the monitor’s feed taking up the screen. So, what had the potential to be really scary, is thrown away. Shame. This is one where, actually, I feel an American remake with a few million dollars behind it could be a vast improvement.

7 comments:

Octopunk said...

Glowing baby eyes! We only ever had an audio monitor, so I never got to experience that fun. Good rundown on how to make this flick better. We should be hired as consultants.

The daymare scenario I imagined was setting up a video monitor and discovering that my baby was being visited by ghostly creatures that look like the mites from Cloverfield. So keep your eye out for that.

JPX said...

I completely agree with your review. There are some great scares in this film but the direction is definitely amateurish. I think that the fact that it's in Spanish helps because the acting is probably bad. Worth checking out though.

Catfreeek said...

This was part of the Spanish series 6 films to keep you awake. They aren't the best made films of all time but the stories are unique and interesting, I'm glad that they're getting watched.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

I've been on the fence about watching this one since Catfreeek reviewed it in 2009. Now I'm even more on the fence.

Landshark said...

You're so right about those baby video monitors--seems like a great image to build a story around.

AC said...

super ballsy to watch movies with infants in jeopardy while you have your own!

yes, the phrase "pipe in the ass" is still in use, see johnny's most recent review!

DCD said...

Huh. It does sound pretty good despite the amateurish quality. Or at least the idea of it. Glowing baby eyes!!