Article first published as Movie Review: The Baby’s Room on Blogcritics.
Sonia (Leonor Watling) and Juan (Javier Gutiérrez) are a young couple with a baby. They’ve just moved into that house: the one that needs a lot of work, has had five different owners in as many years and is probably infested with helldemons. Then, the unexpected happens and strange noises and creepy figures start menacing the family. It’s up to Juan and his video camera to discover what’s trying to kill them.
The Baby’s Room (La habitación del niño) is a Spanish made-for-TV movie, part of the Films to Keep You Awake series (Películas para no dormer). It’s similar to the Masters of Horror series of Showtime, in that there’s blood and nudity and an astonishing amount of cursing en español.
It’s a strange mix of quirky humor and gritty, stomach dropping creepiness. It has a very similar tone to Poltergeist, where there were those funny moments right before the audience is dropped into a pit of horror. Things will be hunky-dory, with Juan joking around with Sonia and then two scenes later, there’s a dead body slithering across the floor. All the scenes with Juan and his camera in hand are stomach clenchingly creepy. The camera can see what he can’t and he wanders through his rambling house witnessing terrible things.
For all the creepiness, there are problems. The Baby’s Room is a brutally quick 79 minutes. As a result, the pacing feels rushed. Juan believes he’s in a haunted house without even pausing to consider other alternatives. Juan’s wife runs out the door at the first sign of trouble and their marriage goes from idyllic to broken in the space of a day. Character development is hinted at, but there’s never any follow through. At one point halfway into the movie, the boss tells the Juan that all they ever talk about is soccer. This is funny, because up until this point, they’ve never mentioned soccer. There’s just not enough time to develop the plot, so it all feels condensed and forced.
The music is also unnecessarily bombastic. It kind of ruins the tension when violins and drums suddenly barge their way through the scene. What’s worse is the music is so generic. I know I’ve heard this scary music before in other movies. Sometimes, scary music hurts a horror movie more than it helps and this is one of those cases.
Overall, The Baby’s Room succeeds in being a creepy little movie, but bad pacing, a lackluster soundtrack and odd character moments keeps this from being more than an average thriller.