By Merle Bertrand | April 13, 1998

Amy is going into labor and she piles into her brother-in-law’s van with him, her sister and her husband for a trip to the hospital. They’re unexpectedly joined by Cody, a deranged, gun-wielding psycho fleeing the murder of his abusive aunt, who leaps into the departing van, takes the entire family hostage, and refuses to let them stop, even to drop off the young mother-to-be at a hospital. I bet next time, hubby uses that condom!
The tension rises as Amy’s labor progresses and her increasingly frightened, frustrated and desperate family plots their escape.
The Grand Master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock always took it as a challenge to scare the bejeezus out of people in broad daylight, and that’s precisely what drives “Labor Pains.” The hostages can see the unsuspecting world going on about its business right outside the van’s windows, and yet they’re captive to the whims of a gun-toting maniac.
Ultimately suffering a bit from a linear, subplot-less storyline, the limited visuals offered by the film’s primary location – the interior of a grungy old VW van – and an abrupt, relatively predictable, and anti-climactic ending, this slow-burning nail-biter still takes you along for the ride and forces you to wonder what you’d do if faced with a similar situation. That much, at least, would satisfy ol’ Uncle Al.

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