Movie Review by Siobahn Harris
The Lullaby was one of the most confusing, rushed, and boring movies I’ve ever seen. I really wanted to like it, but the closer I got to watching, the more I wanted to avoid it.
The preview makes the movie look like something very different than it actually was. I went into this movie thinking I was about to watch a demon baby story or something close to that, but I was very wrong. I’ll let you watch the trailer for yourself.
Let’s Break It Down
The trailer looks great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s dangling a treat in front of you that you never get. Let’s jump right in.
The movie starts by flashing back to 1901. The narrator says that while the men were fighting the the war, the women were placed in British concentration camps where they were raped. The women who got pregnant due to this, would have their children snatched away and murdered in front of them. Yeah, they show it. Break the baby’s neck and throw it off a cliff. Thanks for that.
The simple breakdown is this, Chloe (played by Reine Swart) ran away from home and when she came back, she gave birth to a little boy. When asked about the father Chloe says nothing, which was concerning for her mother, Ruby (played by Thandi Puren).
Everyone seemed happy to have her home, including her old friend and true King of the Friend Zone, Adam (played by Deànré Reiners). However, shortly after giving birth Chloe starts seeing a spirit who appears to want her baby. It seems as though she may be hallucinating, but for Chloe, it’s very real.
Ruby starts talking to the town’s therapist, Dr. Reed (played by Brandon Auret), about the situation and he seems to be very concerned about who the father is. Soon after, Chloe becomes his patient and she is very clear about her dark thoughts and feelings, as well as her hallucinations. Dr. Reed gives her a sleeping pill and that’s about it.
Just when Chloe appears to really be losing it, Dr. Reed insists on Ruby leaving her alone for a night with her son, her dark thoughts, and all the hallucinations. Chloe must then decide what is real and how far she will go to protect her son.
The title alone would make you think that the lullaby sang in the movie had great importance to the story. It gives the impression that the movie is going to be about this strange lullaby that Ruby sings to her new grandson, but it doesn’t. Honestly, you hear the song being sung, but no one explains it, no one talks about it, no one points it out as being odd.
The Lullaby Goes (In Afrikaans):
Siembamba, mama se kindjie, Siembamba, mama se kindjie, –draai sy nek om, gooi hom in die sloot; trap op sy kop dan is hy dood.
Siembamba, Mummy’s little child, Siembamba, Mummy’s little child, — twist his neck, chuck him in the ditch; stomp on his head then he’s dead.
Out of context that lullaby seems pretty twisted to sing to a new born baby. Therefore, I expected them to explain the lullaby, but they don’t. I did some research on it and this is what I found. While the actual meaning on this song seems to be debatable, there are a few thoughts the link. The song originated in Africa and was sang to children. The word “Siembamba” used to be “See the mamba” referring to a snake. Knowing that, the song is sweeter and is definitely a song of protection for the baby.
However, some of the other meanings say that the song is about concentration camps, some say it is about killing illegitimate babies. Both of which would fit for this movie, but when you really break down the song they are singing in the movie, it is the protection version. Unfortunately, without explaining what “Siembamba” means, the song just sounds creepy, which I can only assume is why they didn’t explain it. If you want to read other explanations of the lullaby check out this website, but know that it will have to be translated.
Anyway! The Lullaby was an incredibly slow movie. While it was filled with jump scares and ridiculously loud sounds, there was no real character progression until about an hour in. I was so bored that I almost fell asleep. I had to get up and walk away to wake myself up. When things started to pick up, it seemed so rushed and messy. It was like they were just throwing information at us, information that could have been given to us earlier.
To make matters worse, they don’t clear anything up. Regardless of how much information they gave us, it’s still confusing. I wish they told us so much more, like: Was Dr. Reed real? Because he looked a hell of a lot like the preacher from 1901. If so, why didn’t he stop things from getting worse? Did he take the baby? If so, what baby was Chloe holding? Were the hallucinations real? Why did it seem like a SWAT team was called to handle Chloe? Adam, WTF is wrong with you?!
No. Unless you are scared of not knowing what’s going on or your idea of fear is jump scares and going deaf. The Lullaby had so much potential to be a great movie, but they really dropped the ball. They had a great idea, but weren’t sure how to create it. What a disappointment. If you would like to watch this movie for yourself, check it out on Hulu.