In spite of a truly funny beginning, Hell Baby does tend to wear out its welcome even though the ending is satisfactory enough. However, if you enjoyed “Reno 911” and “Children’s Hospital”, the comedic styles will definitely be up your ally and help get through some of duller and dumber moments.
Genre(s): Comedy, Horror
Millennium Entertainment | Unrated – 98 min. – $24.98 | December 31, 2013
Directed by: Robert Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon
Writer(s): Robert Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon (written by)
Cast: Rob Corddry, Leslie Bibb, Keegan-Michael Key, Riki Lindhome, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon, Michael Ian Black
Features: Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 20.3 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
“Reno 911” co-creators Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon write and direct a horror-comedy Hell Baby, a fun movie that starts off really well, to the point I wish the pair had been involved in some capacity with the now (hopefully) defunct Scary Movie franchise, and although the story does lose some steam toward the third act, on the whole it’s still a funny movie with plenty of solid laughs… or at least hefty chuckles.
Jack (ROB CORDDRY) and Vanessa (LESLIE BIBB), a married couple expecting twins, have just bought and are moving into a rundown New Orleans’ home in a sketchy neighborhood. The interior is just as rundown as the exterior but the couple seems to want to make it their home despite the drawbacks which includes, as they learn from neighbor/live-in F’Resnel (KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY), the home has a dark history including many murders.
In the meantime, we also are introduced to two investigative priests, Fathers Sebastian (ROBERT BEN GARANT) and Padrigo (THOMAS LENNON), sent to New Orleans after the religious/ritualistic murder of a psychologist (MICHAEL IAN BLACK) who was in fact killed by Vanessa to cover up the demon baby she’s carrying… or something along those lines, as if it matters.
What follows are random scenes at which point this comedy does start coming apart at the seams. For instance, we get a scene where Sebastian and Padrigo eat with police officers Mickey (ROB HUEBEL) and Ron (PAUL SCHEER) and this sequence lasts a good 5-minutes, I realize it was done on purpose to stretch it beyond its already limited comedic potential, but it was god-awful to get through. It also only added to the fact any momentum this comedy/horror had going to a screeching halt.
Later in the movie we do get some gratuitous nudity from Riki Lindhome, playing Vanessa’s free-spirit sister who has come to cleanse the home of evil spirits. The finale does attempt to bring things around with the demon’s birth although it hardly matches how the film began on a high, and funny, note. However, despite the problems Hell Baby had with its comedic pacing, which matches some of the tone in “Reno 911” and “Children’s Hospital”, this is a far better parodying when compared with recent additions to the genre such as Scary Movie 5 and those Movie movies (i.e. Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, etc.).
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.0/5
Unfortunately the only features we get are a set of Deleted Scenes (27:50; HD) and a Gag Reels (13:52; HD) containing a “Spoof Reel” and “Rawdog Radio Comedy” which are outtakes of the radio program the priests listen to. With a cast like this, a commentary would’ve been a blast.
Previews – Parkland, As I Lay Dying, Charlie Countryman, Ninja II
VIDEO – 3.5/5
Distributed by Millennium Entertainment, Hell Baby doesn’t exactly have the richest texture and has the look of cheap digital. Detail levels are OK but nothing amazing and the colors are relatively muted.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track meanwhile is satisfactory enough especially considering the genre where the bulk of the action is contained in the center channel for dialogue and some of its light-hearted score while the front and rear speakers are pretty limited reserved for minor bouts of ambient noises.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, in spite of a truly funny beginning, Hell Baby does tend to wear out its welcome even though the ending is satisfactory enough. However, if you enjoyed “Reno 911” and “Children’s Hospital”, the comedic styles will definitely be up your ally and help get through some of duller and dumber moments. The Blu-ray released unfortunately has little in features save for deleted scenes and a gag reel and missing is what I assume would’ve been a fun commentary track. The audio/video transfers aren’t anything noteworthy but good enough.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.