Still/Born (2018) – DVD review ***Spoilers***

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Still/Born

DVD Release: 20th August 2018

Film Review

Horror/Thriller

Directed by: Brandon Christensen

Starring: Christie Burke; Jesse Moss, Rebecca Olson and Jenn Griffin

 

My one worry before watching this film, being the obvious antagonising incident in the title, was that I was praying they would handle it both tastefully and respectfully. This is a sensitive subject for many people, and I was concerned that it would be handled a little too blasé within a horror genre movie. Thankfully, it was handled very well, and quite discreetly (the entire scene was screened without any real sound and it was just the look of heartbreak between the new parents and the nurse when they came to the realisation that one of the twins had sadly not survived). I appreciated also, that they didn’t show the scene graphically just for cheap shocks.

 

The central focus of the story was of course the tragic loss of one twin at birth, as well as the developing post-partum psychosis of the twins’ mother, Mary. The film deals with how her depression and breakdown affects her both mentally and physically, as well as affecting her relationship with her husband Jack. Their relationship made more strained as, due to his work, he is required to be away on business trips.

 

It’s suggested to be an evil entity, intent on taking Adam, the surviving twin. And we follow Mary as she hears noises, see lights coming on, even windows smashing – ghost or troublesome kids? Jack does his best, offers to fly her mother in, puts in security cameras throughout the house so he can keep an eye on her and Adam. It’s a shame though in the capitalist world we have made for ourselves, that he chooses to work away for ‘the big account’, than stay with his grieving wife and new born son for a little longer. I guess if we want the nice things, we have to sacrifice the real things that matter.

 

Mary, while taking Adam for a stroll, meets her neighbour Rachel, who also happens to be a new mother, and they soon become fast friends. I found it quite heart-breaking how Mary’s descent into her depression is played out within this friendship.  She begins to mistrust Rachel more and more, as well as seeing things that are not real – scenarios playing out in her mind involving Rachel and Jack, even watching Rachel appear to seduce Jack via the new security camera feed that Jack had installed to make her feel safer.

 

I think, for me personally, this film would have been better suited as a character driven thriller/horror rather than a supernatural horror. The entity that wanted the surviving twin, Adam, was well done, well portrayed to a point, but sadly got neglected, and we didn’t see too much of this. The story was more overtaken by the post-partum depression and heightening anxiety of Mary (not a bad thing – I just feel it was too much of one thing and then the other, over and over), and her descent into delusion, with her desperate need to save Adam at any cost. For me, I thought the entity was used just as a metaphor for her psychosis, and as a way for her brain to come to terms with the loss of her child, as well as her terrible fear of losing her surviving child Adam.

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The film started with some genuinely frightening scenes, courtesy of the baby monitor in the nursery. It tailed off a bit closer to the end, losing its way with a decent, yet slightly awkward feeling finale.

 

In my opinion, this film tried to be two different things that just didn’t mesh well. There wasn’t enough time to fully explore both the supernatural element and the psychological aspects. For me personally, it would have been much better overall had they chosen one path for this movie and ran with that.

 

3/5 – It was good, but it could have been great.

 Lesley-Ann (The Housewife of Horror)

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