Hell Baby



Vulgar, lowbrow horror-comedy has extreme blood and gore.
  • Review Date: September 3, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Though the movie is very crude, bloody, and gory, it does have a few sly comments about race relations, and there are some interesting twists on stereotypical behavior. But other stereotypes are more typical and offensive.
Positive role models
Though the characters generally mean well and are somewhat sympathetic, none of them are particularly admirable.
Though it's all played for laughs, the movie has some very bloody and gory violence. Characters punch, stab at, and burn a little demon baby that looks fake, but it still feels cruel. Adult characters also toss the demon baby back and forth, and a "real" baby gets caught up in the tossing. Many characters die. Characters are bitten, scratched, and shot, with lots of spurting blood. A victim is shown with his entrails hanging out. In flashback, characters are shot, gored by a bull, and attacked by a snake. The movie also has some scary stuff, like faces in windows and sudden jump-shocks.
A female character is shown fully naked, head-to-toe, back and front, for several moments (she also oils her breasts). A man's naked bottom is briefly shown. A man receives oral sex under the covers (nothing graphic is seen). Scenes take place in a strip club, with at least two topless women, lap dancing, and other sexy dancing. An "old lady" is shown naked; her breasts are visible, but overall, she looks more like a rubber suit than an actual person. A married couple occasionally kisses and thinks about sex. The outline of a man's penis is seen through biking shorts. The cover and an inside page of a (fake) issue of OUI magazine are shown; there's no nudity, but it's definitely suggestive (and it's referred to as "porn").
Language is very strong, including many uses of "f--k" and "s--t," as well as "goddamn," "oh my God," "Jesus," "ass," "bitch," "balls," "penis," "boobs," "boobies," "boner," "d--k," and "a--hole."
Facebook, Apple iPhone, and Apple MacBook Pro are shown and/or mentioned. Several scenes take place in Domilise's Po-Boy & Bar, with characters eating po-boys, drinking beer, and making lots of "yummy" noises; it's like an advertisement for the place, though it seems to be only a local New Orleans restaurant, rather than a chain.
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Two priest characters are constantly smoking cigarettes. A pregnant woman drinks wine (and paint thinner) and smokes a cigarette. Several main characters smoke pot. Characters drink beer in the po-boy restaurant and martinis in the strip club.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Hell Baby is a crude comedy with horror elements. It features quite a bit of comical blood and gore, with many characters dying, and adult characters trying to catch, beat up, and kill a newborn demon baby. Sex is a big issue, with full-frontal female nudity, very strong innuendo and suggestion, as well as scenes inside a strip club, and images of an adult magazine. Language is likewise strong, with multiple uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," and more. Two adult characters smoke cigarettes almost constantly, many of the characters smoke pot and get high, and most of the characters drink beer, wine, or hard alcohol; it's all played for humor. Characters eat in a real New Orleans restaurant, and the scenes play like commercials. Some Apple products and Facebook are mentioned. The movie is available VOD as well as in theaters, so parents beware.

Parents say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

Jack (Rob Corddry) and his very pregnant wife, Vanessa (Leslie Bibb), move into a run-down fixer-upper house in a dangerous New Orleans neighborhood. They learn that it's called the "house of blood" and that several murders have been committed there. It's not long before Vanessa starts acting strangely -- speaking in dog language and sucking at bloody raw meat in the refrigerator. A neighbor, F'resnel (Keegan Michael Key), and two cops try to help, but it soon becomes apparent that they'll need assistance of a more spiritual bent. Fortunately, Fathers Sebastian and Padrigo (Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon) are on hand.

Is it any good?

Written and directed by Garant and Lennon, co-creators of the Reno 911! series and movie, as well as Balls of Fury, HELL BABY certainly isn't the worst horror comedy of all time (see Transylmania). It's told in a series of related sketches, rather than through a tightly constructed plot, and the actors were allowed to improvise; no one is weighed down by bad writing. In this environment, every once in a while a decent joke makes it through -- or at least jokes so odd or unlikely that you may find yourself amused later. 
And the cast members are, at the very least, largely likeable. Key often strikes just the right note as offbeat neighbor F'resnel, and Riki Lindhome is appealing as Vanessa's kooky sister. But most of it is still pretty bad. It often feels lazy and, when in doubt, falls back on bad taste. A large percentage of the jokes just fall flat, and the bulk of the movie is annoyingly repetitive, which only smacks of desperation.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Hell Baby's extreme blood and gore. Are audiences expected to laugh at this stuff? Are there any circumstances under which blood and gore are funny?
  • What stereotypes did you notice in the movie? What does it have to say about them?
  • Is the movie scary? What makes a really scary horror movie?
  • How does the movie use drinking and smoking as part of its humor?
  • What's the difference between lowbrow humor and other types of humor? What makes it appeal to some people?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 6, 2013
DVD release date:December 31, 2013
Cast:Keegan Michael Key, Leslie Bibb, Rob Corddry
Directors:Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon
Studio:Millennium Entertainment
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:bloody violence, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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