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The Cradle (2007)

the-cradle.jpg

From IMDB:

When Frank and Julie move to a small isolated town with their son Sam, both Julie and Sam become ill. Driven by terrifying nightmares of torture that come true Frank begs a local midwife Helen to care for Sam as he desperately searches for a way to stop this curse on his family. When he discovers they are being tortured by the vengeful spirit of a child that was buried alive years earlier, Frank is pushed to the brink of madness as he tries to stop the ghost and save his dying family.

The film opens with a long scene of a car getting on a ferry to get a new couple to there newly purchased secluded home. It’s a long slow experience. When you are introduced to the main characters you can’t help to wonder if Julie (Emily Hampshire) is subcombed by some for of depression but you just don’t know. The films somber pace doesn’t help to resolve this question. Frank (Lukas Haas) plays the supportive father and acts like he really doesn’t have a clue as to what is going on in his own life. It’s not a bad story it’s just hampered by the fact that it moves so damned slow. Oh yeah somewhere in here I should mention that there is a baby, Sam. Very cute but you don’t know how his role will play out for the audience. Evidentially we are supposed to worry about the childs well being, and Frank is the first one to bring that to our attention, but where is Julie? Woo scary, she is huddled in a corner complaining about the baby not breathing. What a fucking emo.

I know that this is supposed to be played out to build up suspense for the audience but I just don’t feel it. In all it makes me believe even more that Julie has some severe mental issues and puts the baby at risk more than anything supernatural could possibly do. Hell the family doesn’t watch T.V., doesn’t go to work (of course they don’t because Frank is a writer) way to keep things at play at home there guys. The only thing that seems somewhat normal is that Frank tries to reach out to a neighbor that wants nothing really to do with him because she is whacked out and scarred as bat shit. I don’t know if this really matters but the spinsters name is Helen, but who really cares.

The movie seems to try to draw from older suspense thriller movies in the way that it doesn’t really show anything. That would be fine if you could really see the plot move somehow in movie time, not taking how it would happen in real world time. That’s the reason one of the reasons that I like to watch a flick because I can get to the story faster than having to deal with it in real life. It’s called pacing and this movie slumbers on without any real sense of suspense. Even the music (if you can call it that) doesn’t really help to do anything except to let you know that something is supposed to be important.

To give you an example of how slowly this move plays out I am writing this as the movie is playing and it’s about half way through and I still don’t feel anything of what the production staff or writers were trying to make me worry about with this film. Frank freaks out because he hears the baby fussing a little bit and forgets that they had but him in the nursery. SPOOOOKY. Then finally about 40 minutes into the film you get to see a glimpse of a shadowy figure that is supposed to scare you also. I think I’m going to shit my pants, false alarm it was just gas. Dad is starting to look like he might be losing it more than mom is at this point and that may have something to do with the fact that he is the only one that has anything to do with the poor kid because mom is so helpless that she can’t be bothered to get out of bed for the most part.

It is fun to see the parts of the movie that Franks paranoia starts to get the better of him though and it becomes increasingly more intense as time goes on. He must really have issues with being a good dad because he freaks himself out one time with leaving the baby alone on the kitchen counter and walking out of the room and another time he has a bad dream that his son is going to fall from his carrier, that is placed on a folding table, into a 50 year old washing machine. I know when I movie into a new home I want to use ancient appliances such as these, and being a successful writer we all know he doesn’t have the money to afford new ones.

I’m still trying to piece together exactly what I am supposed to be frightened by. I think somewhere in this mess there is supposed to be a ghost story, but what the hell do I know. Although Helen offers some insight into why she is freaked out by babies it doesn’t move the story along one single bit and it’s just as drawn out and boring as the rest of the movie.

Then Frank decides that audio monitors aren’t good enough to look over poor Sam so he installs a video monitor, until they can get out of there. Hell they moved there no problem what’s the deal with them leaving? I still think Frank is progressively going more nuts as the movie move on. He stats to see things on the monitor that couldn’t possibly have happened because sweet loving postpartum depression Julie is in the room with Sam. As the movie goes on you get more than your share of Franks delusions and begin to wonder if anything that Frank ever worries about is warranted. For all that he worries it’s really surprises me that he leaves the baby on it’s own as much as what he does.

There seems to be something lingering around the family in the bad juju area but the film never really solidifies the reasons for the fears except for the tricks that our characters minds are playing on themselves. Is any of this real? Do I really care? For arguments sake I will say that it had an ok twist at the end. Nothing you can’t really figure out but it makes this strange story make some resemblance of sense.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not bashing the movie because it has a small cast, on the contrary there are a lot of movies that this works really well for. Most notably films produced by Lions Gate are really big on making due with low budget, small cast, really insightful movies. They have a knack for bringing out suspense in spite of those shortcomings because that’s what they do and are good at it.

I’m trying to really give this movie a chance, truly I am but it’s about as much fun to sit through as a root canal. Maybe someone out there will find it fun to watch but it just didn’t happen for me.

This movie gets a 1.5/5 stars

This movie is such a winner that there isn’t even a preview for it out there.

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