Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Writer/Director, Pablo S. Pastor (Into The Mud) *see review* https://adamthemoviegod.com/into-the-mud-review/ for allowing me early access to an online screener of his 15 minute Horror/Thriller short, “Bye Bye Baby”. Bye Bye Baby is a stylish home invasion setup centering on a young woman (played by Karina Kolokolchykova) whose spending the night at home watching movies. She gets a phone call from a friend, and shortly after, strange things start happening in the house. Is it all in her head or is someone in the house? The film also stars Pilar Pintre, Lucia Amargo, Noa Sanchez and Nani Rodriguez. I thoroughly enjoyed Pablo’s debut short film, Into The Mud, about a nymph and her encounter with a local hunter. While, Bye Bye Baby is yet another horror short, it’s much different in tone and delivery than its predecessor.
Pablo was kind enough to reach out and give me an early look at this one. Firstly, the poster art is exceptional. The colors are rich, the lettering classically defined and the image pays homage to both the Italian Giallo, and more notably, Wes Craven’s genre defining “Scream”. The film opens with some Tarantino esq, title credits in yellow which also look reminiscent of Ti West’s, “House Of The Devil” (another great 80’s inspired film). Victor Alvarado’s camera work and framing are nice and tight and I love the opening one hundred and eighty degree slow pan sequence, eventually revealing our young lady in the kitchen. Everything is beautifully lit with shades of blue and yellow and glimmers of red. Vibrant palettes have long been a cornerstone of Italian film making and particularly the aforementioned Giallo (of which Pastor is clearly a fan of). The deep violin and piano score in the first part of the short complements the films tone perfectly. Add in a few low-end note strikes and you’ve got an unnerving backing. It’s clear from the outset that Pastor’s script oozes of passion for and from the horror genre, particularly the likes of “Scream”. Everything, from the look of our protagonist with her gap sweater and blonde hair (styled exactly as Drew Barrymore’s was), through to the opening phone call and her watching the patio for any activity, it’s all in the opening of Craven’s masterpiece. Ordinarily you’d say this is straight up lifting (which it technically is), but there’s enough of Pastor’s own idea at play here, that it saves face. There’s an old black and white late night horror movie playing in the background and a sense of the unknown when it comes to what might actually be threatening her and the home. The tension is superbly crafted, much like Bryan Bertino did in a slow burn nature with “The Strangers”. In addition, there’s some solid makeup effects in the climax of the film.
The only technical imperfection is that there are a couple of more obvious patches of ADR in the mix (additional dialogue recording), and if you’re a stickler for accents you’ll quickly come to realize (if not already by her surname of Kolokolchykova) that Karina is not American.
I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed Pablo Pastor’s directorial debut “Into The Mud”, but that said, Bye Bye Baby was an even better experience and a high-class product all around. The artwork is some of the best I’ve seen this year, the cinematography is sharp and the lighting is bursting with flair. The suspenseful score and set design only further add to the mystery of it all. A true horror fan, like myself, can’t deny that much of the detail in the opening scene of Craven’s aforementioned film is present here in Pastor’s. I can’t say that it bothered me though because of how much I love Scream. A multitude of influences seem to have guided Pablo and I could even draw comparisons to a season two episode of TV’s “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, involving a mummy. Aside from a couple of very minor nit-picky issues, Bye Bye Baby is a perfect short film and probably the best one you’ll see this year. Keep your eyes peeled for a September release because you won’t want to miss it!!
My rating for “Bye Bye Baby” is 9/10