“Is That a Baby?”

Main Cast: Sara Malakul Lane, Carl Donelson

Director: Jared Cohn

Years ago, I watched and reviewed some bad movies called 11/11/11, 11-11-11: The Prophecy and 13/13/13 and ever since I’ve felt there was a void in my movie watching.  So when I saw 12/12/12 from The Asylum was available to stream on Peacock (and Freevee), well obviously I have to see it.

Unfortunately, I realized somewhere along the way that I’ve already seen this one, I just, for whatever reason back then, didn’t review it.  And now, God help me, I’ve seen it twice.  I feel like this time I HAVE to review it, if only to make sure I NEVER watch 12/12/12 again.

So, Veronica (Sara Malakul Lane) has been in labor for 27 hours and finally the doctor says he’s going to have to do a C-Section.  Her husband Carlos (Carl Donelson) insists that can’t happen; it’s against her religion.  But the doctor says it’s happening.  To illustrate how serious both men are, they pull down their masks and have an argument about it in the delivery room, so you know they mean business!

Carlos is kicked out of the delivery room and the doctor makes his incision.  Before he can go in after the baby, an arm reaches out of Veronica’s stomach.  They take out the baby, the nurse recoiling, wondering what’s wrong with the newborn, and the next thing you know, the placenta and umbilical cord are wrapped around the doctor’s throat, choking him to death.  The baby attacks the nurse, and soon Veronica is lying in her bed—the doctor was killed right before he could sew up her C-section incision—covered in blood and holding baby Sebastian.

Next, Veronica and Carlos are home and, man, I don’t know whose house they used to film here but DAMN that’s a nice place for young twenty-somethings in the hood.  For the first act of 12/12/12, all I could focus on was what the hell does Carlos do for a living?  Trust me, it beat focusing on the movie.

So the young couple are trying to settle into life with their baby when strange things start happening.  Sebastian bites through Veronica’s nipple while breastfeeding (Carlos puts a Band-Aid over it), then Carlos sees someone in the house while out in the back yard one night, but when he runs inside to check on his wife and son, there’s no one there.  They call the police, who show up in record time, and the detective, Barnes, doesn’t seem too interested in the possible intruder, but only wants to talk about the murders at the hospital.  Carlos walks him out and the next night Veronica wakes up from a dream to find Sebastian under the covers between her legs.

Carlos tells Veronica she HAS to be careful, he could have smothered under there, never bothering to wonder HOW he got there in the first place.  So Veronica gets in the shower while Carlos heads to the kitchen to boil some water for tea.  Instead, he drinks the boiling water, killing himself.  When Veronica discovers his body, she also sees a man leaving the house with Sebastian.  She chases after him with a knife, telling him if he doesn’t give her back the baby, she’ll kill him.  That’s when the police show up—again, in RECORD time—and the man runs off.

The police try to take Sebastian, but the CPS worker who has him is choked to death by her seat belt.  Meanwhile, Veronica heads to her sister Gabriella’s house 100 miles away, where Detective Barnes delivers baby Sebastian the next day after the CPS worker’s car is found.

Turns out the man Veronica saw trying to take the baby is a “doomsdayer” and he thinks Sebastian is the devil incarnate or something, all because he was born on 12/12/12.

And that’s just the first half of the movie.  From there it just gets ridiculous.

My first impression of this movie was not a good one, and that’s probably why I never reviewed it when I first saw it.  My second impression isn’t much better, but at least I think this time I had a slightly better grasp on what they’re calling a plot.  Written and directed by Jared Cohn (writer/director of other classics like LITTLE DEAD ROTTING HOOD, ATLANTIC RIM: Resurrection, ALIEN PREDATOR, FAST AND FIERCE: Death Race, SHARK SEASON, SUPER VOLCANO, and ICE STORM), 12/12/12 is an Asylum movie through and through.  The only thing missing here were some has-been cameos.

While Lane and Donelson have several credits on their resumes, they’re not exactly what I would call … hits.  Lane has been in a slew of other Cohn movies (JAILBAIT, KING ARTHUR AND THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE, DEATH POOL) while Donelson (also a Cohn alum) has had a few TV credits as well (NCIS and Training Day).  I don’t know how they fared in those other roles but, man, they are BAD here.  Then again, how much of that do I attribute to a terrible script and some sloppy direction? In one scene, Veronica’s sister Gabriella—played by Laura Alexander Romas—who has lost custody of her daughter, Brittany, is found drinking in Brittany’s room.  She laments to Veronica she doesn’t remember the last time she was in this room.  But the audience does.  It was a few scenes ago, she was lying awake in Brittany’s bed, staring into space and, most likely, missing her daughter.  This wasn’t caught in the editing stage?  Or, I don’t know, the writing stage?

Steve Hanks as Detective Barnes is giving it his best old school gumshoe performance, and I’m still shocked he never once mentioned how he was a week away from retirement or how he was getting too old for this shit.

Then again, hey, maybe some of the bad performances weren’t as bad as I thought; maybe I was just lulled into a sense of disorientation by the constantly shifting camera angles, the dutch tilts and the worms eyes views.  Maybe it was the purposely muddy shots of Sebastian, or rather the friggin TERRIBLE puppet that was supposed to be Sebastian.  Believe me, there wasn’t a live baby on this set for the entire movie, and what they did have … was that paper mâché?  Holy crap, that was bad!

I will give them credit for set design, though.  Seriously, whoever owns the houses they were filming in, can I come stay for a weekend?  Or forever?  For a single woman who lost custody of her kid and who I never once saw go to work, Veronica wasn’t doing too bad for herself, either!

Look, I don’t regret having sat through 12/12/12, but that’s ONLY because now I can fill in that gap left between 11/11/11 and 13/13/13.  If not for those movies as bookends, there’s no way I would have finished this one.  I’d have gotten ten minutes in and, knowing I was watching something I would be reviewing the next morning, went on to something less absolutely terrible. 

There are no redeeming qualities in this movie, it’s all just bad from concept to execution.  I don’t believe for a second anyone connected to the making of this thing was giving it their best.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out Cohn actively hates his audience. My final recommendation?  Watch something else.  Watch ANYTHING else.  Watch paint dry, for God’s sake.  Only watch 12/12/12 if you think your newborn might be about to usher in hell on earth, and even then only watch to see everything NOT to do.  Otherwise, don’t even look at this movie’s thumbnail, let alone hit Play.

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