Movie Review | Lullaby (2022)

John R. Leonetti (known for Annabel, 2014 and the The Conjuring, 2013) brings us Lullaby, thanks to the writing talent of occult researcher Alex Greenfield (The Temple, 2012) and writer Ben Powell (The Sand, 2015). In it, a young Jewish couple are revved up and ready to let their dreams sore with a new baby, Eli. 

"Rachel" (Oona Chaplin, "Maddy" from the TV mini-series Treason and the late-great Charlie Chaplin's granddaughter) and "John" (Ramon Rodriguez, Need for Speed, 2014) have their livelihood in running a business and they enjoy it. They’ve, of course, taken time off to manage the new bundle of joy who often keeps them up at night. They manage by exchanging parental duties. This is until they inadvertently recite a nursery rhythm from a cursed book and unleash an evil spirit that sets its sights upon newborn Eli.

Rachel's older sister "Vivian" (Liane Balaban, Last Chance Harvey, 2008) having experienced these horrors previously after she picked up the book from a gift shop, understands the mythology behind the nursery rhythm and the book it comes from. The couple finds themselves desperate for answers, with even their local synagogue absent for real solutions.

They are eventually put in touch with "Shomrim" (Hayden Finkelshtain, Super Science Friends, 2015) to come up with some legit answers. From there, John, Rachel, and Vivian will need to come together to come up with their own answers to fight this battle and save their son. 

The movie’s first act manages to build and keep tension with scares that feel fairly potent. The performances we get stand proudly on their own merits. The characters have distinct personalities and struggle through enough of a story to make us want to learn more about their plight. It isn’t until the second act that the narrative begins to lose traction and gives way to more conventionally cheap Hollywood CGI scares and typical horror tropes. But we find that it is the ending here that looses the most points with its audience, as it is terribly unsatisfying. Apparently begging to have us see its finality in a sequel, we aren't left with a strong enough sense of want for one. 2 and 1/2 stars for the lofty - but languishing - Lullaby.