Returning to her home town, Eden Rock, and overwhelmed by the birth of her first born, Chloe van Heerden (19) tries to come to terms with motherhood. Alongside dealing with her super ...
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Returning to her home town, Eden Rock, and overwhelmed by the birth of her first born, Chloe van Heerden (19) tries to come to terms with motherhood. Alongside dealing with her super critical mother, Ruby (35), Chloe struggles with the demand of being a new mom. The incessant crying of her baby, the growing sense of guilt and paranoia sends Chloe into a dark depression. With a heightened urge to protect her son, Chloe sees danger in every situation. Distraught she pays a visit to family psychologist Dr. Timothy Reed (40s) who diagnoses her intrusive thoughts and feelings of anxiousness to a mild case of baby blues. Yet the thoughts grow worse and more violent. Chloe starts to hear voices and humming of a childhood lullaby and sees flashes of a strange entity around her child. Convinced that the entity is real, Chloe does everything in her power to protect her son. Her decline reaches fever pitch, and everybody seems to be moving against her. Desperate, Chloe finds solace in the arms ...Written by
Afrikaans Horror: An Interesting New Genre But It Drags
Caught this film last night, it was met with much anticipation considering last year's social media buzz on its low distribution by South African cinema franchises, supposedly due to its themes. It's been blogged that the film was inspired by Afrikaans folklore but unfortunately the film never really goes there.
It's about a young mother, Chloe played by Reine Swart going through a bad case of social depression. She lives with her mother plus a newly born baby and set in South Africa (although no Black South African actors nor extras are seen). The story specifically takes place in a forest looking location; Eden Rocks, it makes one wonder if it's a reference to the recent controversial "White Christian Only" gated community called "Project Eden" (but that's in the desert area).
Anyway, what follows that Chloe has visions, or illusions of a type of boogey man (or more of a boogey woman spectre) referencing the film's opening scenes of early 1900s Dutch (?) Christians participating in ritual sacrifices. Chloe's spectre comes off looking like a flying nun whose apparitions makes her sanity worse throughout the film, but this is where the narrative drags.
Director Darrell Roodt, who has been nominated (and has received awards) for his film productions such as 1992's Sarafina. Surprising, this film's weakest points of not developing character depth by using its star power, namely Brandon Auret (from CHAPPIE fame) top billed as Dr. Reeds. This narrative had great potential to use his acting talents to raise the suspense and horror, instead of employing predictable jump scares.
Yet, the most notable aspect of "Siembamba" (known as "The Lullaby" abroad) that it's an initiative in developing more contemporary South African cinematic horror. Although its marketing has been trying to do a comparison with the Australian film "The Babadook", but this film could probably be compared to an earlier Millennial Italian horror film, "Ghost Son" by Lamberto Bava (also set in a Southern African location).
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