Director – Alex de la Iglesia
Cast – Javier Gutiérrez, Leonor Watling, Sancho Gracia, María Asquerino, Antonio Dechent, Terele Pávez
Release Year – 2006
Reviewed by John of the Dead
In 2006 the US market gave us the “Masters of Horror” series, which gave us some of the genre’s best directors delivering films just short of an hour in length. Some were good, and some were bad, but what really made 2006 an interesting year was Spain, the best non-US country for horror, giving fans their own series of horror films from their best horror directors in a series titled “Films to Keep You Awake”. The Baby’s Room, the second to last entry of the series, gave us a supernatural tale reminiscent of Spain’s supernatural sub-genre of films, and while this entry was not as great as I expected it to be it did enough to warrant a borderline-positive rating.
Sports writer Juan has the perfect life: he has a beautiful wife, a young healthy son, and they have just moved into a large rustic home in a nice neighborhood. When Juan’s sister and her husband give them a baby monitor system they see this as added comfort over their baby’s safety, but things turn awry when they hear strange voices coming from the monitor late one night. Convinced someone was in the room with his child, Juan purchases an advanced infrared system to keep a close eye on his son’s room, which soon exposes him to the horror going on in their dream home.
I love supernatural tales, and this one came with plenty of creep thanks to some clever plot ideas. The usage of technology is what I really enjoyed, and it made the first act of the film possibly the best act overall. The moment we get the chilling voices on the baby monitor had me glued to the screen, and things only got better when the infrared video monitor was brought in and showed Juan the grisly figure haunting his son’s room every night. This created heavy drama for Juan when he begins to suffer a mental collapse over trying to be the protector of his home and failing to keep the ghostly presence away, and things worsen when he begins to take notice to events that his wife fails to see. Is Juan going crazy or is the supernatural presence getting smarter? We don’t find out that answer until the film’s awesome climax, which brought on some good horror that I felt was abandoned during the bulk of the second act. The second act is the reason why this film only gets a 6-rating and nothing better, and that is because things got a bit silly and character issues ensued. The wife, Sonia, was completely unbelievable in her dialogue, and seemed forcefully made to be a bit crazier than the usual crazy wife. Not the psycho yelling type of crazy, but an impulsive crazy that makes poor and stupid overreacting decisions crazy. We are also exposed to much conflict resulting from Juan’s mental state during this time, which affects his work, his relationship with his wife, and even his neighbors. I enjoy conflict, but the second act really abandoned the creep factor and focused a little too much on psychological horror for my taste, especially after the awesome first act.
Director Alex de la Iglesia(The Day of the Beast) gave a mostly positive directing effort here, employing an awesome set used for the home and some good execution of the paranormal horror brought in early on. The performance from Javier Gutierrez as Juan was great, and most of the supporting actors do great as well, although the problems with his wife Sonia do not end with her written character as actress Leonor Watling failed to deliver a believable performance and seemed to let the poor writing affect her acting as well. Iglesia’s execution of the horror after the first act lagged a bit, with a little too much CGI for my taste and some sillyness surrounding the events going on. At times it really felt like this was a TV movie and not its own horror film, which is never really a good thing even if it is a TV movie.
Overall, The Baby’s Room is an OK entry into the “Films to Keep You Awake” series that comes with a unique story and good direction early on, but things lose hitting power during the second act and fail to finish strong despite a cool ending.