Alain Robak's 'Baby Blood' is to be completely honest a film that I knew absolutely nothing about, that was until some readers here at SGM's message board started discussing the fact that it was soon to be released on DVD from our friends at Dragon Films in Germany. So when the new release arrived here I was more than curious following some enthusiastic praise for the film by said readers.
The film opens in Africa, where we see a man buying an animal to add to his collection for the circus back in France. It is at said circus that we meet the bullish aggressive husband of the scared and insecure Yanka, but it isn't only the newly pregnant Yanka that is ill at ease when the new creature arrives as the rest of the circus animal entourage become quickly unsettled with their new companion and when the mutilated corpse of a luckless visitor is found and Yanka is molested during the night by a lusty snake she decides now is the time for her to move on and escape the clutches of her domineering husband.
Sadly, it's not long before he tracks her down to her flea pit hovel but when confronted she brutally stabs him to death under the instruction of a voice not from her head (where you would normally expect psychotic orders to come from) but from her impregnated stomach. You see the unborn child she is carrying isn't any normal sort of kid, this baby's mean spirited and has a desire to feed on human blood (and hence the films title 'Baby Blood'!)
The film then spends the rest of the duration following poor Yanka as she battles for control of her mind and will power with the ever-growing evil seed that she carries. "I'm the one making the decisions" it decries as it continually makes demands for fresh supplies of human blood, which can only be obtained by means of violent assault by its weakening host.
Of course the whole demonic offspring scenario has been tried and tested successfully before in such delightful gems as 'It's Alive', 'Rosemary's Baby' et al but with 'Baby Blood' Robak has delivered a very insular and thoroughly enthralling genre venture. At times darkly oppressive and atmospheric and on occasion tastelessly amusing, 'Baby Blood' is one of those surprise finds that should be welcomed by folk looking for a new horror movie that has a lot more to offer than a dozen disposable 'I Know What You Screamed last Urban Legend's.
Alain Robak has not only managed to convincingly deliver a creepy horror story that is ideally suited to the low budget and small ensemble cast but shows great flair as a genre director and hence great promise for other work to come. Another key element to the enjoyment that this sleeper gem brings is the outstanding performance by the lovely Emmanuelle Escourrou who is not only a great actress who handles the role with much confidence but is a very alluring beauty also (well it's always a nice bonus eh?)
The widescreen print on show here is simply gorgeous, in fact it's probably Dragon's best to date - sharp, colourful and faultless throughout. Dragon have also delivered a near perfect audio presentation also with the option of watching the film in either it's original French, German or English audio. Interestingly I did notice that the English variation contains a different music soundtrack to the French and German variations (all of which sound great). Perhaps the only thing stopping this presentation from being perfect is that in a couple of small scenes the English audio dub is missing leaving the French dialogue present, but this is in no way detrimental to the movie as we're talking a couple of brief incidental comments, nothing significant to the movie. As outside of this very small discrepancy this presentation looks and plays just great and I'm thrilled that I got the chance at last to find out what folk have been talking about.
Not content with just a lovely transfer of the film itself, Dragon gave chosen to offer this very much little known film the special edition treatment and a welcome move it is too. As well as packaging the disc in another of their lovely slimline digipack sets compete with colour booklet (in German only though), they've delivered some nice bonus features for our perusal. First off (and perhaps best of all) is Robak's short film 'The Corridor' - the fact that it is presented here in its original French audio with only burnt on German subtitles available shouldn't put you off as this is a gut chuckling hilarious short very much in the spirit of Raiders of the Lost Ark by way of Sam Raimi, priceless! There's also a fascinating 16 minute interview with director Robak conducted in English so we can all enjoy his comments on genre film making which seems downright perilous in his native France. There's also trailers for the film for both the French and German markets and some brief text pages covering both Robak and Escourrou's work.
While 'Ginger Snaps' covered the menstrual movie theme well, 'Baby Blood' offers a whole new level of terror in gynological horror. Perhaps not ideal viewing if you're pregnant or more so if you're the nervy partner of someone who's pregnant, this is a great slice of genre fun and a similarly pleasing presentation from Dragon. I for one am looking forward to more of Robak's genre work and perhaps after viewing this one you will be too? Check it out!
Review by Alan Simpson
|Released by Dragon|
|Region All - PAL|
|Ratio - Widescreen|
|Extras : Short film 'The Corridor', Interview, Trailers, Filmographies|