Babycall (2011) Dir. Pål Sletaune

Haunted by her past and hunted by her present – meet Anna.

Anna (Noomi Rapace) moves into a cold and empty apartment building with her son Anders (Vetle Qvenild Werring). They are running away from the abusive husband and father. Moving from one place into another is hardly starting a new life. Anna seems more like a hunted animal than a domestic violence survivor. The mortifying look in her eyes says it all. She is trapped in her own obsession and paranoia. She is constantly worried her husband finds them. She uses a babycall device to listen to her son’s breathing while he sleeps. One night, the babycall receiver pick up woman’s screams and child’s crying from a different apartment.

Anna lives in a men’s world. She is surrounded by them. She goes back and forth between the husband, her son, and her new friend Helge (Kristoffer Joner). Interestingly, Helge is drawn to her like a moth to light because she reminds him of his own mother – overprotective, anxious, overly concerned, even overpowering. Towards the end, the story becomes convoluted when Anders’s friend from school is introduced. The mysterious boy complicates the story and, at the same time, is the key to solve it.

Babycall is a twisted psychological horror. It follows the footsteps of Rosemary’s Baby. Pål Sletaune takes us into claustrophobic rooms and corridors of Anna’s place. Then, he throws in startling scenes in the woods and by the lake. Desolate places both frighten and fascinate. He mixes one woman’s drama with crime and abuse. The physical and emotional violence are escalated by the disturbed time sequence. We can never be sure what is happening for real and when. The kind of cinematic experience that will make you sit on the verge of your seats.

Long days, pleasant nights,

Veronica Bazydlo


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