BABY FRANKENSTEIN ** USA 2018 Dir: Jon YonKondy. 83 mins
Described as a cinematic experiment during the end credits this ” family friendly” fantasy/comedy follows single mother Kim (Eileen Rosen) and her son Lance (Ian Barling) who are moving into a new house with the help of Kim’s loud and obnoxious boyfriend Ken (Patrick McCartney). Whilst unpacking Lance cuts a padlock off the door to the attic and ventures up. He discovers a small humanoid monster (Rance Nix) under a sheet and somehow activates it. Startled at first they both run off in different directions. Lance brings neighbour Truth (Cora Savage) along to find him and when they do they realise he is actually kind of cute. Truth jokingly names him Baby Frankenstein. The monsters activation sets off alarms at the company that created him and they set off to find him, labelling him as dangerous and offering a cash reward for finding him. Evil boyfriend Ken and his comically mustachioed henchman see Lance with Baby Frankenstein and set out to capture him and run off with the reward. Lance, Truth and odd neighbour John (Mike Rutkoski) do their best to show the little dude some kindness whilst protecting him from the evil people in the world.
This is a really rather sweet movie though I would have to disagree with the family friendly label given the way some of the characters act and speak. If younger kids watched this I feel there would be some rather awkward questions to answer. It is however completely bloodless with zero nudity and very little violence. To be honest because it has none of these things it kind of makes it devoid of any real excitement. Sure they try to make things entertaining by taking Baby Frankenstein bowling and trick or treating seeing as it is based around Halloween but it all feels rather pedestrian. Even the threat of being caught seems to plod along as the boyfriend when trying to catch the monster which he insists on calling a chupacabra just shouts a lot, sneaks around and is easily defeated with the threat of the company coming to get Frankenstein also seemingly more than it really is. It seems quite miscast with Barling as the teenage son who is obviously in his mid twenties and shouldn’t be living at home with mum. The other male characters whether they are good or bad have a creepy, pervy air to them which made me feel a tad uncomfortable. Rance Nix did a great job as Baby Frankenstein though and his make up looked great you really do fall in love with him. The soundtrack features bands Family Animals and Death Valley Dreams, two very similar sounding Alt Rock/Indie bands that play very prominently throughout the movie bringing some much needed excitement to the proceedings. Unfortunately not really to my taste but I felt it definitely helped the movie along.
At its heart the script carries an affectionate story, some reviews have compared it to E.T or Harry & The Hendersons which I get but aside from the emotion it lacks the guts to commit to anything that would make it magical. The attempt at comedy was lost on me but I did think the idea and Baby Frankenstein himself was really sweet.
Review by Sarah Budd