Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today, I am reviewing the psychological horror short The Goblin Baby (2014). Since it gives away absolutely nothing, I will turn to the description provided for the overview:
A supernatural thriller about the first year of motherhood.
Let me start off by saying, I find the use of nursery rhymes and children’s songs in horror to be creepy. Always have, probably always will. The opening of this short has just such a moment where the mother is outdoors in a rocking chair singing to her baby. At this point, I was all in.
It certainly helps that these outdoor scenes have an eerie menace to them. The woods around the house look so barren and the lighting provides a paleness to the whole proceedings that one cannot help but feel a sense of unease each time the characters step outside. The fact that we occasionally see things moving within the woods only furthers our sense of dread.
The movement in the woods brings us to what is the biggest question in this film: Is the mother, Claire, just suffering postpartum depression? Initially some of the signs of this disorder manifest themselves making it seem as if that is all she is going through. After Claire hears an old fairy tale about goblins, she begins suspecting there is something in the woods trying to snatch her baby. As an audience, we begin to doubt her sanity, which helps to ratchet up the tension. Without giving anything away, I can promise that by the end, they do answer whether or not she is just hallucinating.
The actress who plays Claire, Oriana Oppice, is fantastic. She carries the weight of the piece well and gives a performance that seems natural. Since the majority of our time is spent with her, we see less of the other players which makes it harder to judge their individual performances. There were a few stilted moments, but for all I know that is only because that person was never given enough time to show off their chops.
From a production standpoint, the indoor scenes just never seemed quite right. The lighting felt overly bright and the camera shots were at times awkward or had a lot of unnecessary motion. Both of these things are easily attributable to shooting inside a real house, but they still occasionally stifled the mood.
All in all, this is a slim and effective little psychological chiller that is worth a view.
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