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Baby Blues
Baby Blues

Janelle Sing and Karena Ng experience the Baby Blues.
Chinese: 詭嬰  
Year: 2013
Director: Leong Po-Chi

Andy Chan, Zhang Zhao, Raymond Wong Bak-Ming

Writer: Raymond Wong, Edmond Wong
Cast: Raymond Lam Fung, Janelle Sing, Kate Tsui Tsz-Shan, Karena Ng, Lo Hoi-Pang, Yu Bo,Irene Wan Pik-Ha, Wen Chao
  The Skinny: Average horror-thriller about a spooky doll that's made worse by an inconclusive resolution. More for fans of Raymond Lam than the Chucky movies. From Leong Po-Chi, director of the award-winning Hong Kong 1941 and also a Steven Seagal movie.
by Kozo:
Wow, Baby Blues director Leung Po-Chi hasn’t worked on a Hong Kong film in over 20 years! The Hong Kong New Wave director behind acclaimed films like Jumping Ash and Hong Kong 1941 deserves his props – but not for a routine product like Baby Blues, which is so thoroughly mediocre that including it in Leung’s filmography seems incredibly wrong. Also, discussion of Leung’s complete works would require us to reference his direct-to-video US films with Steven “Lawman” Seagal and Wesley “Tax Evasion” Snipes. Such an exhaustive look at Leung Po-Chi’s career would be time-consuming and possibly demoralizing, so we’ll simply say “Welcome back, Leung Po-Chi!” and stop talking about him for the rest of this review.

Baby Blues stars Raymond Lam as Hao, a moody songwriter who moves into a new home along with his wife Tian Qing (Janelle Sing), despite an ominous warning from a local homeless man (Lo Hoi-Pang) who predicts that they’ll move out within a year. There are some dark tidings: Hao’s current project is a depressing song called “The Intruder”, which leads one singer to spectacularly wreck her car and another, idol Ying Lan (Kate Tsui), to almost puke. Tian Qing does puke after hearing the song, but that’s because she’s pregnant – oh, joy! Unfortunately, as the couple discovers, all these events are a bad mix. Once “The Intruder” goes into production with Ying Lan on vocals, odd and unsettling things begin to happen to the couple and possibly their child. And what do these events have to do with the creepy doll TIan Qian finds abandoned in their new home?

Answer: inconclusive. While the creepy doll has plenty to do with the shenanigans plaguing the birth of Hao and Tian Qing’s child, its connection to “The Intruder” is not entirely explained. The song seems to be bad news – Hao’s boss (Yu Bo) says to Hao at one point, “Your song is so evil” – but the song ultimately matters little to the film. At least the doll’s backstory is elaborate if not inspired. Baby Blues has a generic but solid story and some effectively eerie moments. There’s a nifty parallel between the doll’s curse and Tian Qing’s postpartum depression (which also serves as a possible narrative out by the SAPPRFT-conscious filmmakers) and the film allows its characters some shades of grey. Raymond Lam’s Hao may be a victim of an evil curse but the script doesn’t let him off the hook for also being kind of a douche.

However, these minor positives aren’t enough to offset the film’s average-to-poor execution. The story is largely disconnected, so if you’re wondering about some details, you’ll simply have to forget them because they aren’t explained or justified later. Baby Blues was shot natively in 3D, but the effects aren’t noticeable except when used obviously, e.g., when Yu Bo blows smoke rings at the screen (seemingly the actor’s only discernible contribution to the film), or when the CGI-animated doll comes to life. Speaking of the doll, its design is so cheap and creepy that it doesn’t convince as something any sane (or even insane) parent would want sleeping in a crib next to a baby. However, the minute Tian Qing walks into the empty house, she sees the doll and says, “Wow, I want to keep this!” Suspension of disbelief: out the window already and we’re only ten minutes in.

Baby Blues would have been better if the filmmakers had gone spare and atmospheric, or conversely pushed things further over the top. The premise already screams Child’s Play, but the creepy doll never goes full-on Chucky. Likewise, Hao’s douchiness should have been given some extra layers, especially his strange insistence on pushing his evil song and his flirtation with the lurid Ying Lan, but the film barely goes there. Ultimately this is just a blazingly average commercial exercise – basically a film for people who’ll stop switching channels when they see Raymond Lam on the TV. Lam fans do get fan service, thanks to his frequent and obviously intense gazes (the Cantonese verb for this acting is “chok”), plus the screentime he shares with his real-life girlfriend Karena Ng (who plays Tian Qing’s sister). Every film has an audience and Baby Blues is for Lam’s. Asian horror fans, there’s nothing for you here. (Kozo, 11/2013)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Panorama (HK)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on 2D + 3D Blu-ray Disc
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