I’m not going to lie – Hell Baby is made for a specific audience. One part goofy 80s horror, one part spookily inspired mindless comedy, Reno 911! alums Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant deliver a maternal story with a sinister bite unlike any other minds could produce. We’ve all seen their fake police skits, some of which include a naked man with a birdhouse on his pecker or Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) from Community tied to a bed with a dildo on his forehead, and that’s essentially the same kind of comedy these two serious horror fans bring to their very own brand of horror/comedy. Babies sure are little devils, but Lennon and Garant prove your screaming toddlers could have turned out a lot meaner, more vicious, and a hell of a lot more demonic.
Give me a film featuring Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant and you’ve got my attention, but turn them into Exorcist-inspired priests who work out, dress like badasses, smoke like chimneys, kick satanic ass, and devour signature New Orleans Po’ Boys – you had me at Exorcist-inspired priests. Not only do both Lennon and Garant write and direct, but they also offer hilarious roles on par with everything these The State artists have become known for. Their brand of comedy is vaguely reminiscent of “immature stoner humor” material mixed with sneakily intelligent quips that will go completely over some heads, making for a unique blend of boner jokes and Shakespearean references – accompanied by plenty of startles.
For as silly and ridiculous as the long-drawn scenes of farts and matadors becomes, Hell Baby is a fantastic bit of horror satire that pokes fun at numerous genre tropes. Mentioning the startling above, comedian Keegan-Michael Key is utilized to poke fun at the shameless amount of jump scares many directors use today, and he turns in a gut-busting role. Farther than this, Lennon and Garant are able to stay focused on joking around with a genre that’s already made children terrifying – but add their own brand of fun to it. Looking at the rest of the cast, Rob Corddry, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, Kumail Nanjiani, Leslie Bibb, and Riki Lindhome all work well with the universe created by our masterminds, and while some actors are much funnier than others given the material, there are still plenty of chuckles unearthed by each talent.
Listen, I’m still a realist, and I know not everyone is down with the camp of Lennon and Garant, so I’m going to say approach Hell Baby with caution. If you’re not a fan of Reno 911!, The State, or anything else the duo have conjured up, Hell Baby certainly isn’t going to convert you. This hellish birthright just oozes the typical influence from its creators, however you want to describe it, but for me the comedy works. It doesn’t for everyone, and I’ll never be able to justify my juvenile love to the haters, but growing up riding along with Dangle and Junior makes it very easy to enjoy Hell Baby to the max.
Enough jabbering – you can read my full review if you want my focused thoughts, but as a final note here’s where I’ll leave it:
Hell Baby is a devilish laugh-riot, providing hellishly indulgent comedy married with lighthearted slapstick comedy – as long as you’re into Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant’s typical “immature” style.
As far as the visuals and audio go for your Blu-Ray watching experience, there’s nothing to worry about in terms of quality. Hell Baby isn’t really a film that begs for the crispest display or the clearest sound, but the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and proper Blu-Ray setup capture every gratuitous Po’ Boy bite and flatulent expulsion in full form. There are beautiful naked women, vicious spurts of blood, overstuffed sandwiches, and there’s a little puppet hellspawn ready for action – why don’t you want to see that in the purest display possible?
In the way of Special Features, here’s what we’ve got:
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reels
Alright, with so many hilarious names involved, I’m disappointed in the length of the gag reel. There are a few laugh-worthy extras captured as the cameras keep rolling, but considering the other Rawdog Radio Comedy skit doesn’t really land, I wish there were more gags to bolster our Special Features. We do get some deleted scenes, including another riotous take of Kumail Nanjiani’s driving, but again, some of the scenes were cut for a reason, and they just seem like padding on the Blu-Ray release. Aside from those two extra features, the only other selling factor here is the “Unrated” release, which really makes us wish for some more cinematic goodies. Lucky for you, I actually interviewed both Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant while they were doing some promoting in New York City, so if you want a real behind the scenes look, check it out!
Honestly, I’m happy being in the minority of supporters for this horror comedy. What’s wrong with having a little mindless fun every now and then? I got my insanity from Evil Dead, scares from The Conjuring, horror from Maniac, slashings from Stitches, and simpler pleasures from Hell Baby. Life’s all about a variety of experiences, and this little horror comedy certainly earns its place amongst 2013’s more randomly interesting watches – now somebody fetch me a damn Po’ Boy.
While the Blu-Ray doesn't "WOW" us with Special Features, Hell Baby succeeded in having me laugh equally as hard during my second viewing of many to come.