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A cruel circus owner beats and abuses his pregnant wife. One day the circus receives a leopard newly captured in Africa, but the animal soon dies. However, an evil creature that was inside the leopard bursts out of the animal's body, burrows into the wife's body and takes over her fetus. It soon starts demanding blood, and the woman goes searching for victims for her new "baby."Written by
Gross-out pregnancy horror boasts a well-defined psychological dimension
"Baby Blood" follows a downtrodden circus performer, Yanka, who finds herself carrying a mysterious parasite that has entered her uterus against her will. Now, she's eating for two, but not the usual meals— the parasite craves human blood, and will stop at nothing to make sure it gets it.
Given the tendency of French cinema to err on the side of the extreme (especially when it comes to genre films), it's no surprise that "Baby Blood" is as unabashedly gruesome as it is. For all of its other attributes, the film is, at its core, a gross-out body horror splatter flick that delivers mind-numbingly gruesome violence that manages to be legitimately discomforting at times. The film also plays itself as something of a first-person slasher film as well, with the caveat being that the "killer" is operating by proxy.
But there's more to it than that; there is also a well-shaped psychological dimension to the film that is captured effectively through macabre voice overs in which the parasite inhabiting the protagonist's womb speaks within her mind, commanding her moves and actions and chastising her when she doesn't do what it wants. The interplay between the mind, the body, and the invader is well-realized and offers opportunity for scenes that are unnerving and scenes that are darkly funny. Emmanuelle Escourrou gives an instinctive and engrossing performance here that is impressive given she is reacting mainly to herself.
Overall "Baby Blood" is a generally strong horror flick that excels as both an exercise in psychological torment as well as a no-holds-barred body horror splatter flick. Shades of dark humor and a playful edge give the film an extra bit of zest, but it doesn't even really need it, as there is enough clever writing and buckets of blood to keep the most hardened horror fans engaged on some level. 8/10.
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