Vaspy

***

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Vaspy
"Hweiling Ow's sticky little fable begins with suburban wholesomeness and gradually gives way to grotesquerie and gore, just as pregnancies do." | Photo: Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

What is normal during pregnancy? In all the centuries that we've kept medical records, in one civilisation or another, we've never quite managed to figure that out. What we do know is that stress is bad and cravings, most of the time, tend to be roughly in line with what bodies need, so when pregnant people start wanting odd things they're generally told not to worry. Most of the time this is fine. Occasionally there's something stranger going on.

Perhaps the mother-to -be in this film should have told her obstetrician about the odd little blister on her belly, but it was such a small thing, and, again, lots of small odd things happen to pregnant bodies. They also happen to busy mothers and she has her hands full looking after her toddler - literally so at the point where she feels a little nip that seems to come from his wooden toy wasp, Vaspy. it doesn't occur to her that this might be related to her sudden sugar cravings or the stranger desires that follow them. She probably doesn't watch many horror films.

Hweiling Ow's sticky little fable begins with suburban wholesomeness and gradually gives way to grotesquerie and gore, just as pregnancies do. The story doesn't go anywhere unusual but the film is well put together and connects very effectively with the way that pregnancy complicates the familiar boundaries of the self. It also knows when to employ mundane horror and strikes a good balance between convincing the viewer of its heroine's vulnerability and presenting her as a competent, pragmatic individual who is easy to identify with. Her home is believably chaotic as all homes with toddlers in them are but nothing seems out of the ordinary until everything does.

Popular at the 2019 Fantasia international Film Festival, this one is squarely aimed at genre audiences but will also strike a chord with those who are sick of the pretence that pregnancy is all about pastel colour, fluffy blankets and smiles.

Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2019
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A woman experiences unusual pregnancy cravings following an encounter with a wooden wasp.

Director: Hweiling Ow

Year: 2019

Runtime: 11 minutes

Country: New Zealand

Festivals:

Fantasia 2019

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