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The Monitor (Babycall) (2012)

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No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0

audience

37

liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 515

My Rating

Movie Info

Anna and her eight year old son Anders are under the witness protection program following a difficult relationship with Anders' father. They move into a large apartment complex. Anna becomes overprotective of her son and even buys a babycall to keep track of him. Soon, strange noises from other apartments appear on the monitor, and Anna overhears what might be the murder of a child. Meanwhile, Anders' mysterious new friend starts visiting at odd hours, claiming that he has keys for all the doors

R,

Mystery & Suspense

,

Pål Sletaune

Jul 24, 2012

4 ½ - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (22) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (6)

It's the naturalistic intensity of Rapace's performance that stays with us.

March 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Norwegian director/writer Pal Sletaune appears to have been influenced by Roman Polanski, but The Monitor is more oppressive than haunting. There is little or no sense of dread. The climax is predictable.

July 28, 2012 Full Review Source: tonymacklin.net
tonymacklin.net

The Monitor is one of the better psychological thrillers I've seen in awhile.

July 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Horror.com
Horror.com

(Noomy) Rapace gives the performance of the week ( ... ) on this form I could watch her all day long

April 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

Rapace again proves herself to be a fearless actress, especially when Babycall is delivering elements which are as unsettling as something like Robin Williams' One Hour Photo.

April 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post

Provides an effectively unsettling counterpart to glossier chillers of its ilk.

April 2, 2012 Full Review Source: SFX Magazine
SFX Magazine

The film and Rapace command our attention, though at the end one feels Norway has used up the whole of this year's quota of red herrings.

March 31, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

The movie makes less and less effort to keep us up to speed - it's a reasonable assumption that a lot of it's going on inside Rapace's head, but determining precisely how much feels like a fool's errand.

March 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

It's a bit on the dour side but Rapace is always watchable.

March 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

This effective chiller bears more than a passing resemblance to The Baby's Room, Alex de la Iglesia's contribution to the 2006 Spanish TV series Films to Keep You Awake.

March 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

It's a great idea for a thriller - but then other plotlines get muddled in, and everything unravels into a cop-out.

March 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

A twisty psychological drama-thriller.

March 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

The ending may not entirely add up, but a minor complaint with so much else to keep us on our toes.

March 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Part disturbing study of vulnerability, part twisty-turny decoy fest, Babycall gets a bit too ensnared in its own web of intrigue.

March 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

It's a great idea but there are too many confusing sup-plots and no satisfactory resolution.

March 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Ambiguous and enigmatic or muddled and unsatisfying? It's your call.

March 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Genuinely creepy, it's another Scandinavian thriller that will nestle uncomfortably in your head.

March 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

It's a well-paced, gradually established scenario; Norwegian writer/director Pål Sletaune keeps us guessing as to what is really going on, while drip-feeding information that slowly undermines the reliability of Anna's perspective.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: The List
The List

The script needs more nurturing but Noomi Rapace takes up some of the slack in Pal Sletaune's maternal mystery.

March 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Sletaune maintains a fraught, creepy atmosphere throughout, making excellent use of the claustrophobic interiors and sparse, crumbling neighbourhood surrounds.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: The Skinny
The Skinny

Audience Reviews for The Monitor (Babycall)

An absorbing, well-paced psychological thriller that never loses its grip, with an intriguing mystery that keeps us at the edge of our seat trying to figure out what is really going on - and Noomi Rapace is fantastic as the center of this sad, devastating story.
May 21, 2012
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

Noomi Rapace is brilliant in this Norwegian twist on "Rear Window". She's in a witness protection style program, on the run with her eight year old son from her abusive husband. Kristoffer Joner is likeable as the loner who befriends her. Sadly the movie ultimately suffers from a predictable Shyamalan style twist ending but director Pål Sletaune keeps it moving along nicely and it is quite involving. I certainly enjoyed it more than the over-rated "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo".
May 31, 2012
themoviewaffler.com
The Movie Waffler

Super Reviewer

** out of ****

I always enjoy watching Noomi Rapace play new character on-screen. Her career has been going down some genuinely interesting roads ever since she portrayed the universally intriguing female half of Stieg Larrson's "Millennium Trilogy", Lisbeth Salander, and it's already become clear that she is a truly talented actress in that the one character does not become her. When you see Rapace in other movies, you don't see Lisbeth; or at least I don't. Rapace alone provoked me to watch the Norwegian psychological thriller "The Monitor" (also known as "Babycall"). As much as it provides another chance to see a good actress in action and as obviously inspired by the great masters of suspense such as Hitchcock and Polanski as it may be; "The Monitor" is nonetheless an unfortunate failure that repeatedly shoots itself right in the foot.

It gets off to a PRETTY good start. Anna (Rapace), a mother, and her eight-year old son Anders move to a new apartment after just barely escaping the boy's abusive father (and her former husband), who we learn attempted to drown Anders and even throw him out a window. Anna believes that they're safe for the time being, although she's still super-protective of Anders. So protective that she prefers that he sleeps in her bed, with her, and to the point where she buys a baby monitor so that no violent action committed towards the child while he's in his room goes unheard of. However, shortly after getting the monitor, other noises start coming from the other end. Noises that could not possibly be coming from Anders or his room for the matter.

What we hear could be interpreted as domestic violence amongst families, children, husbands, and wives. Distant, cold screams and muffled pleading. The scenes where Anna listens in on these unseen but not unheard of tragedies are truly unnerving. Anders starts attending school again, makes a new friend, and instantly starts acting out in various ways (such as pinning a photograph of his father on his bedroom wall). Anna starts to think she's going around the bend. Her world is changing around her. The lake that she thought was close by to the apartment complex appears and reappears as it pleases. She witnesses bodies being lifted into trucks in the parking garage.

This really could have been an interesting film about child abuse and the line that is blurred between hallucinatory dream and reality, but instead it comes off as a rather wasted opportunity. The pacing starts out alright, but then the whole thing just gets needlessly absurd and doesn't let up in that department. By the end, it's just become unbelievable. But along the way, the film just keeps throwing in needless characters - such as an electronics store clerk who sells Anna the monitor and is supposed to bring a romantic dynamic to the story - and situations. Director Pal Sletaune obviously expresses an interest in the true artistry involved in creating suspense; but his efforts are unsuccessful as his film might as well mirror your average dumb, absurd Hollywood thriller, only slightly smarter.

And at that, we are back to Rapace. She has this essence of maturity to her technique that instantly makes her more engaging to watch than most actresses that would be caught dead in this kind of film. I admire that she's branching out and her performance here was certainly a lot of fun to watch in spite of her desire to be as un-emotive as possible most of the time (although who can really blame her). The other actors are average but satisfying. Too bad the movie itself is not. Cold and unbelievable; "The Monitor" doesn't make the cut but is inoffensive given its content and its quality. What you've got is something that is competently crafted, but not nearly enough to engage even the most patient of viewers. What's the point of building so much dread if you can't support it with a solid story and characters? The answer is, there is no point; and there might as well be none to this film's existence either.
September 10, 2012
Ryan M
Ryan Marshall

Super Reviewer

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