Thursday 23 August 2012


Starring Noomi Rapace, this Swedish horror is out now on DVD. When Anna is placed into protective housing to keep her son away from his violent father, Anna buys a Babycall radio system to listen in on her son sleeping in the other room; but she she starts to hear horrific screams coming through the speaker, and they're not coming from her son.

With a concept you'd more readily expect to see in J-Horror, the Japanese sub-genre that fears most forms of technology, Babycall is a modern thriller that taps into the primal instinct for a parent to do all they can to protect their child. In the lead role we have Noomi Rapace, a star in rapid global ascension after The Girl With... series and most recently appearing in Prometheus.

Like a lot of the recent output from Sweden, or the Nordic Noirs that are currently doing the rounds, there's something altogether bleak about Babycall, almost to the point of being highly depressing. Rapace's Anna is a brooding, insular person afraid of creating connections with others, including Kristopher Joner's Helge, a quiet and lonely sales assistant who sells Anna her Babycall. Helge, caring for his dying mother, sees a kindred spirit in Anna and wants to do all he can to help protect Anders and find out where the screams are coming from.

Noomi Rapace is an always reliable performer, and she plays a character going slightly mad well. Visibly a nervous wreck, the entire film depends on her ability to react believably to an entity that's not necessarily there. It's a role reminiscent of Nicole Kidman's in 2001's The Others; another tale of a parent fighting against an unknown assailant. There's also thematic similarities with Shutter Island and The Sixth Sense, but to say more might make you assume you know how this is going to end.

Although often slow and a little too reliant on the eminent watchability of its leading lady, Babycall is still a psychological, paranoia filled thriller with an ending that's hard to fully unravel. In fact, it may need to be seen more than once to fully understand.


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