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Review: 'Hell Baby' a modest, occasionally gross horror spoof

The brain child of 'Reno 911!'s' Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, this horror spoof features amusingly offbeat characters and a bit of Mel Brooks-like deadpan silliness.

September 05, 2013|By Robert Abele
  • Co-directors and co-stars Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon star as exorcists dispatched from the Vatican to investigate a possible possession in the movie "Hell Baby."
Co-directors and co-stars Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon star as exorcists… (Millennium Entertainmentt )

Horror spoofs have become something of a spawning menace these days, especially when horror movies themselves are often ridiculous enough to warrant laughter. At least "Hell Baby" has the distinction of coming from two funny parents — writers-directors-stars Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon ("Reno 911!") — and emphasizes a gallery of amusingly offbeat characters brandishing shtick over ripped-off-from-classic-movies sight gags.

The simple set-up has eager parents-to-be Jack (Rob Corddry) and Vanessa (Leslie Bibb) moving into a questionable New Orleans fixer-upper where, according to their ever-present neighbor (a hilarious Keegan Michael Key), "nobody has been murdered in a lo-o-o-ong time" — by which he means months. When Bibb shows signs of not being entirely herself, chain-smoking Vatican-dispatched priests (Garant and Lennon) arrive for what can only be described as an exorcism/birth that resembles a kind of devil-child hot potato.

"Hell Baby" isn't what anyone would call a laugh riot or a defining poke in the eye at horror movies, but its modest (if occasionally gross-out) stabs at genre parody rarely insult our intelligence and even allow for the kind of retro deadpan silliness Mel Brooks used to underline his louder punch lines.


"Hell Baby"

MPAA rating: R for bloody violence, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use.

Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes

Playing: Galleria at South Bay 16 and on VOD


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