Director: Darrell Roodt
Cast: Reine Swart, Thandi Puren, Brandon Auret
Production Company: Valhalla Productions
Runtime: 87 minutes
Horror movies can take on various guises. Sometimes they’re just popcorn flicks, but they can also be deeply distressing works of art. The Lullaby (2018) is a psychological horror film that will leave you feeling unsettled. It is directed by Darrell Roodt who also gave us Dracula 3000 (2004).
In the movie, Chloe (Reine Swart) returns to her home town after having a baby. She is overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood and is soon diagnosed with the baby blues. Sinister visions begin to torment Chloe, leaving her questioning what is real.
The film was made in South Africa, under its original title Siembamba. This refers to a morbid lullaby based on regional folklore. The movie was considered too disturbing by many local film groups, who chose to avoid controversy by not screening it.
There are many troubling images in the film depicting violence toward an infant. That alone will make the movie too intense for some people, but I appreciated that they rarely pulled any punches. This is a powerful story that hasn’t been watered down.
The lighting and colouring of the film seems to reflect Chloe’s dark state of mind. Almost every scene is bleak and drained of colour, which adds to to the foreboding atmosphere. It would be difficult not to feel Chloe’s constant misery.
Ultimately, the movie doesn’t provide much in the way of answers for poor Chloe. Are her visions due to postpartum depression? Maybe they have to do with her town’s arcane history? Could they be the result of a supernatural encounter? You’ll have to decide for yourself…
Distraught mothers have questioned their sanity in other horror films like Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Devil’s Due (2014), and It’s Alive (1974). However, those films all made the cause of the situation relatively clear. Not knowing for certain is part of what makes this film terrifying!
The film’s opening scene reminded me of the ritualistic events featured in The Wicker Man (1973). Fans of any of the movies I’ve mentioned here will likely also be interested in seeing this one. The Lullaby is sure to keep you up at night…
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…