31 October 2017



I really enjoyed this one which I saw recently at the annual Horrorthon in the Irish Film Institute, the one week of the year specifically designated for us horror fans. Having said that I enjoyed it, however, it must be said that that was only because it's a sub-genre of horror that I truly love, the whole young couple moving into a new house with a new baby thing, and then bad shit starts to happen and they don't know if it's the house that's haunted or the baby that's possessed or whatever.

I do really, really love this genre of film. This one was disappointing, however, in the sense that everything in it I'd seen before. I was able to pretty much predict the whole plot as it was happening.

American couple Mary and Jack move into a humongous, really posh new house in a really fancy area. Jack's a businessman and he's been made a partner or something in his firm, and Mary's a mopey housewife who's just given birth to twin boys, one of whom died at birth, hence the title.

The deceased infant isn't really anything to do with the rest of the film. They didn't really need to put that bit in at all, as it's a bit of a red herring. Of course, if they'd left it out, they wouldn't have had their super-cool title, haha.

Mary could just as easily have had the post-partum depression after having just one child. That's plenty traumatising enough, believe me! I guess the film-makers wanted to give her a little something extra to be traumatised about, but it wasn't really necessary.

Anyway, nothing that happened after the little family of three move into their lovely new house is going to surprise or terrify you. Sorry about that, lol. I feel bad for you guys, like it's partially my fault or something.

The Mom, Mary, is a long streak of misery, as one might expect from a new mother. She never smiles and she mopes about the place like she's lost her winning lottery ticket down the jacks or summat. She begins to hear demonic-sounding noises on her baby monitor which, yes, is a terrifying concept but we've seen it before.

We've also seen demonic shapes hovering over sleeping kids on CCTV cameras in films before. Though I admit I fell for the initial jump scare, the notion of the she-bitch female demon wanting to take kids away from their parents, like some mad sort of other-worldly social worker, isn't a new one exactly.

When the demon makes her actual physical appearance, she creaks and clicks and clacks and jerks like something out of THE GRUDGE or THE RING. When Mary goes to see the woman she's found out about online, the woman to whom this nightmare has happened before, the woman reminds me of Lin Shaye, the marvellous old ghost-hunter/psychic from INSIDIOUS.

Even the way the woman points to a picture of the she-hag old demon in a book and says to Mary ominously: 'That's the bitch who's after your child!,' it just reminds me of INSIDIOUS and other similar movies again. The idea of substituting another child for Mary's son Adam, as a sacrifice to the demon, has probably been used somewhere before as well.

The house is in permanent darkness, even during the day, which is a bit odd. The fuses all blow at one point, but the couple never seem to get 'em repaired. The hubby goes away on a business trip halfway through the movie, a move which you can see coming a mile off.

Of course the insipid hubby Jack is going to go away on a business trip for one or even two weeks. How else would we get to see Mary lying terrified and alone in her bed in the pitch-black house while, down the hall, the demon has free rein with the child...?

For f**k's sake, woman, where are your brains? It seemingly never occurs to the dozey Mary to bring the baby into the bed with her and lock the f**king door if she's so gosh-darned concerned about demons interfering with her nipper and whatnot.

That's what I would do, bring the baby in with me, barricade the door and phone the hubby and tell him to get his goddamn arse back to the house asap if he values his, erm, balls. It doesn't do a kid any harm to kip in with its parents either, whatever the experts say about it. It didn't do my brother any harm, anyway. He slept in with our parents till he was thirty-five and he's perfectly fine today. He's a she now, though, of course. Calls himself Marjorie Fitzwilliam or some such.

There's a scene in STILLBORN (well, there are a few, but I particularly remember this one) which makes no sense whatsoever. Mopey Mary turns into a Stepford Wife for one scene only, curling her lank hair, slapping on the lippy and making pancakes for hubby's breakfast. She's acting all brightly manic and possessed, but it's not a possession movie.

She's not being possessed by this demon, the demon only wants the kid. For the rest of the film, Mary's back to normal. It's almost as if the director wanted to squeeze that trope into his film, so he just went right ahead and did it, regardless of whether it made any sense at all.

We've also got the self-slamming door and the vent from which mysterious noises issue and, when Mary slowly, slowly sticks her eye up against it for a bit of an old nose, no prizes for guessing that she sees a pair of demonic eyes. Yawn.

I'm being a bitch, I know, but I was hoping for so much from this film and it didn't really deliver a whole lot. I'd still recommend that you have a look at it, though. One man's meat is another man's poison, and I wouldn't call it poison by any means. It's fun and entertaining but I just wouldn't expect anything new or shocking from it, that's all. I'm off now to have my itty-bitty kitty claws sharpened. Miaow...


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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