Directed by Patchanon Thammajira, 2006
I’ve had my eye on Colic ever since its original teaser poster popped up at the HK Filmmart. And by popped up, I mean jumped off the screen and shoved its mutilated baby arm in your face. That poster is the greatest teaser poster ever made. End of discussion.
A slab of meat? You call that teasing? Hah! Absolute trash on its own, but compared to a baby with a bloody stump sitting next to a red soaked blender? That is just embarrassing.
But does the movie live up to the tease? Is the bloody baby juice worth the squeeze? Is there even any bloody baby juice?
The answer, like the contents of that blender, is a bit murky. The juice is eventually worth the squeeze, but it isn’t nearly as morbid as that picture proposes.
Faced with an unexpected pregnancy, Phrae and Pong decide to get married and settle in with Pong’s mother. Things are going alright until Phrae witnesses neighbor Benn burn to death. Before the flames can even die down, Phrae goes into labor, giving birth to Pan, a baby with a seemingly endless bout of colic, aka ‘the 300 day cry.’ As the months pass, Phrae begins to connect the babe’s tears with the bizarre events that always appear to accompany them.
It is obvious right out of the gate that the film’s biggest problem lies in its pacing. The editing doesn’t crawl along, but it does meander around aimlessly for large chunks of time. Because of this the film fails to establish any sustainable sense of dread until well into its 104 minutes. Normally this is a death blow for a film from a ghostly genre that exists wholly on a diet of impending shock and awe, yet Colic limps by long enough to redeem itself before the credits roll. In all fairness, this could easily be attributed to the fact that I wanted to see that baby do something twisted or have something twisted done unto it.
Alas, the acting is nothing favorable. The parents aren’t too likable and the baby isn’t nearly as ominous as it should have been. Crappy baby actors. It doesn’t help that much of the dialogue consists of toss away lines just to keep things moving, but the duo don’t seem capable of conveying the trauma one would surely experience if their baby cried for a year straight.
If you’re wondering, yes the baby does find the blender, but only in a fleeting dream sequence early on. But it does eventually have a rendezvous with a ceiling fan!
Grading by expectations, Colic is a disappointment. Grading objectively, it isn’t all that bad. The first hour is all over the map, but when the horror starts to reel in all its hooks, things do become interesting. However, the conclusion feels tacked on. Other than that it does accommodate more than a mild sense of satisfaction.
And in an odd twist of events, Colic is an Asian horror film I’d beg to see remade. If an American studio actually had the balls to put a baby (not a kid, but a real baby) at the center of a horror set piece, a remake could work wonders. Cut out the meaninglessly wandering of the first hour or so, tighten up the pacing, drop some pointless explanations, exploit the hell out of the baby and you have one wild, scare promising flick that would dominate word of mouth.
I don’t have enough faith in studios for that to happen, though.
But at least we’ll always have those baby-in-peril posters.