Written by: Tera Kirk
Directed by: Po-Chih Leong
Cast: Sing Kwan Janelle, Raymond Lam, Hoi-Pong Lo, Karena Ng, Kate Tsui
Ever since the trailer for Stuart Gordon’s Dolls scared me to death as a child, I’ve always had a thing for creepy dolls. Once I dragged my poor mother to see Bride of Chucky in the theater; Full Moon Pictures is a national treasure. When it comes to dolls killing people, any good taste I pretend to have goes out the window. So of course Po-Chih Leong’s Baby Blues has a special place in my heart.
It’s still pretty bad, though.
Not to be confused with the American horror film of the same name from 2008, this Baby Bluesfollows a composer named Tao (Raymond Lam) and his wife, who move into a new house where they find a doll that’s ostensibly been left by the previous owners. Shortly thereafter, Tao writes a “death song” and every idol who listens to it has a mysterious accident. (One involving a guitar string puts Death from the Final Destination movies to shame.) Is the song connected to the doll somehow? Is Tao just morbid and extremely unlucky? I couldn’t tell you–the film never resolves that plot thread.
This inability to follow through with any of its ideas is the core problem with Baby Blues. It sets up all kinds of interesting events that may or may not be due to the doll’s influence, and then doesn’t provide evidence either way. Is the doll really possessed by the soul of the couple’s stillborn baby, Jimmy? If so, why was the doll acting so weird before they were even expecting? Did it cause the pregnancy somehow? The doll’s convoluted backstory almost explains everything, but it still raises burning questions without answering them. Perhaps the writer was going for some ghost story-style ambiguity, ala Talky Tina in the Twilight Zone episode “Living Doll.” However, instead of wondering “Is the doll alive or not?” (and frankly, “Living Doll” works well either way), I’m wondering “Why is Tao creepily forcing idol singers to listen to this horrible song?” and “Why do the idol singers like it?” and “What do people subconsciously inviting death have to do with this doll?” and “Where is the special effects budget in all of this?”
Thank goodness the doll acts like a regular doll most of the time, because the effects are terrible. When Tao sees “Jimmy” walk slowly across a roof, the movement is too awkward to be scary and not self-consciously ridiculous enough to be funny. It’s just poorly done.
Baby Blues could have been a creepy ghost story–or, failing that, so-bad-its-good fun–but the film has too many interesting ideas that it never fleshes out. Maybe the writer expects me to be smarter than I am. At any rate, Baby Blues leaves me more confused than frightened.