Reviewed by: Jamey Hughton
Tim J. Brown
What's it about
Young couple Frank (Lukas Haas) and Julie (Emily Hampshire) move into an isolated house with their newborn son. She seems to be suffering from postpartum depression, and he starts having hallucinations of terrible things happening to their child. Plus there seems to a ghost haunting their new house and intent on putting the baby in constant peril. What a happy home!
Is it good movie?
Although it tries to tell a spooky ghost story, the real mystery of THE CRADLE is why in the hell it is 107 minutes long. The movie suffers from a lethargic pace for the first two acts. Actors deliver their lines slowly and the editing is weirdly deliberate, the camera dwelling far too much on the pretty forests of Ontario (where the film was shot). At the sixty minute mark, nothing noteworthy has happened and little backstory has been divulged. I began to wonder when the real movie was going to start. When it comes down to the home stretch, director Tim J. Brown manages to capitalize on some of the filmís disturbing content quite well, and when things are better explained THE CRADLE develops a surprisingly creepy streak. But there is still too much dead space throughout the runtime to make it worthwhile.
The movie features only three main actors. Haas tries his best to give an emotionally honest performance, and is in good form carrying the movie on his shoulders as the protective husband. Hampshire is frankly unconvincing as Julie. Only one neighbor , Helen (Amanda Smith), who isnít much of a social butterfly... in fact she seems to be completely deranged. One funny moment finds Frank asking Helen if she wouldnít mind babysitting for them. Iím thinking, Ted Kaczynski would be a more suitable babysitter. But hey, itís hard to find decent help when you live in an isolated horror movie setting.
The movie scores a few points for some frightening ďbaby in perilĒ scenes. Hey, thereís something suspenseful about seeing an infant child in danger of being dragged into an open washing machine and horribly drowned. When THE CRADLE finally begins to develop its ideas, and we begin to wonder if Frank has lost his mind or there are other sinister forces at work, there is a sudden sense of potential for this story.
The last 10 or 15 minutes are devoted to explaining all the riddles the film has teased us with. Overall THE CRADLE is really nothing new, and thereís not much going on. Itís a failed mood piece and unless youíre partial to slow paced Canadian-made dramas, it's not likely to hold your interest.
Video / Audio
Video Widescreen Presentation
Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1
The Cradle - Behind the Scenes Short and pretty standard featurette, with a few interviews and some insights into makeup and effects.
The filmís Theatrical Trailer and a Trailer Gallery with six previews for direct-to-dvd titles.
THE CRADLE has the germ of a good story but it's far too deliberate in its pacing, despite some scary moments.