A lot of people can relate to the idea of their friends moving pm in their life and career, or being in successful relationships with marriage and children on the way. Playing on that feeling of isolation and being left behind, The Baby blends dark and casual humour with uncanny horror to thrill, scare and evoke anxiety amongst the viewers, taking the saying “a baby changes you” to new levels of chaos. All of this is down to Michelle de Swarte’s impeccable facial expressions, line delivery and comedic timing, pulling out a chuckle or two from the most morbid of scenes.
De Swarte plays Natasha, a young woman coasting through life with no stability. Her friends are all getting pregnant or have children of their own, leaving her with feelings of uncertainty on where she stands in life. By some irony, a baby lands right in front of her and she has to speed-run to becoming a mother, all the while leaving a trail of dead bodies in the baby’s wake. In the midst of all the absurdity, some profound lessons come to light – of learning to see past the product of violence, the graphic realities of childrearing, and how children aren’t the fix-all to the problems of adult life.
The Baby’s structure is very cyclical, ending the same way it begins. This stylistic choice reflects on intergenerational trauma, from mother to daughter to sister. There is a lot of misdirection and witty dialogue that keeps viewers on their toes, accompanied by quick cuts, dark lighting and shadows, as well as heavy breathing timed with the music to further the suspense. Bright colours on clothing and certain objects stand out against the dark neutral filter and grey backgrounds, almost like warning signs. The soundtrack mix is eerie and quirky – the epitome of everything The Baby is. One of the most amusing techniques involves the camera angles, which really sell the baby’s size, questioning how something so small can be so terrifying. This and the quick cuts from tragedy to its aftermath intensify the comedic and thriller effect, creating a sense of unease and confusion.
In general, The Baby is multifaceted in terms of production, offering so much to marvel at in the visuals and audio, it almost makes viewers forget that underneath all the physical nuance, there’s a sort of over-complicated simplicity to the story.
The Baby is released on Sky on 7th July 2022.
Watch the trailer for The Baby here: