Hypothetical Netflix Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Child birth. This subject plagues the horror movie genre from the obvious Rosemary’s Baby to the metaphorical usage of pregnancy in every slasher movie. What? Did you think “don’t have sex” was the big message from Friday the 13th? Naw dawg. It was about having babies. Look at what being a mother does to Mrs. Voorhees. She’s just trying to stop those damn kids from the heartache.
Shelley, a 2016 Danish/Swedish movie, carries on in footsteps of Rosemary’s Baby, showing the growing worries of a pregnant as all her fears are validated. The plot centers around Elena, Cosmina Stratan, a woman who takes a job as a personal helper for Louise, Ellen Dorrit Petersen. Louise is on the mend after her personal pregnancy ended when she lost her baby and the doctors removed her womb. Once she is better and Elena’s services as caretaker are no longer needed, Louise pops the question: she asks Elena to carry her baby using a frozen eggs Louise as been saving for a rainy day. That’s when things turn bad.
Elena agrees, but sucks at being pregnant for money. She sneaks cigarettes, gets punched in the stomach by small children, just plan doesn’t take care of herself. Then the baby starts to kill her from the inside. The filmmakers never come out and say that the baby inside of Elena in the seed of the dark one, but it’s totally the seed of the dark one. At first I thought that maybe the baby was just pissed off about the smoking and the stomach punching, but the surreal creepy ending had me change my vote to demon baby.
One of the things that I really liked about this movie is the multiple languages it uses. Some of you are reading that and saying, “Read? To watch a movie?” Yes. But don’t worry, it’s primarily in English. Why I enjoy movies with multiple languages is it leads to scenes where not everybody in the room knows what’s being said, leaving them in the dark as to what is actually going on. Dramatic irony, for those familiar with the term.
What I really didn’t like about Shelley was the pacing. The film is broken up into two parts really and the first part functions very much like Rosemary’s Baby. The second part, although I like the direction it went in, just crawled compared to the first part.
Either way, lesson learned: don’t let strange women put babies inside of you.