There are many horror films that rely on the relationship between a mother and her child to have an impact on the viewers. Some of the most popular are “The Conjuring,” “Monstrous,” “Carrie,” “Hereditary,” “Child’s Play,” “The Shining,” “Poltergeist,” “Mama,” and “You Are Not My Mother.” Why? Because the relationship of a mother with her child is considered the most powerful and pious. There is something godly about it, which makes for a significant opposition to evil. “Lullaby,” too, makes use of the mother-child motif to give us a horror story involving Biblical themes.
In the film, we have a mother and her child who are being tracked by a dark entity that is motivated by love as well. So, whether this characteristic sheds some pristine light on the entity’s darkness is something that is left for us, the viewers, to decide. The creators have done a good job of making the entity just dark enough to keep the horror motif alive without allowing the purpose of the entity’s objective to dissolve. So, rather than fearing Lilith (more on her later), we feel for her and try to understand what she must be going through and the reason behind her actions.
‘Lullaby’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
After moving into their new home with their baby Elias, Rachel and John come across a book sent to them by Rachel’s mother. It was one of the many things that belonged to Rachel’s sister Vivian, who is presently at a correctional home. Rachel comes across a lullaby in the book and sings it to her baby. She then starts seeing a woman in the mirror. John, too, ends up killing their pet cockatoo. Rachel decides to reach out to Vivian for help. John, being a Jew, too, decides to visit a synagogue to see what he can find out from his friend, Rabbi Simowitz. Vivian and Simowitz tell Rachel and John, respectively, about the story of Lilith, and that’s when everything becomes clear. The story is as follows:
According to Judaic and Mesopotamian mythology, the first wife of Adam, named Lilith, was banished from Eden for not obeying Adam’s wishes. Roaming the wilderness, she gave birth to imperfect babies. Then, jealous of Adam and Eve’s perfect babies (we humans), she decided to steal them. God listened to Adam’s prayer and sent Lilith to the underworld. However, she twisted the song, which Adam would sing to her when they were together, into a spell that would summon her from the underworld.
While John doesn’t get much information from Simowitz on how to get rid of Lilith, Vivian assures Rachel of her help. After all, she, too, lost her son Zachary to Lilith and knows what to do. Meanwhile, John is contacted by Rabbi Cohen’s men, courtesy of Simowitz. Cohen tells him more about Lilith and the lullaby, the first of three rituals that, once completed, will allow Lilith to come and take a baby. The song calls upon Crone (her handmaid) and the Lilim (her half-babies). The second ritual is a sacrifice of a beast to deconsecrate a space for her arrival. The third and final ritual is to spill the blood of the baby that she will take and replace it with a dead golem.
John is on his way back from Cohen when Rachel, who is at home, hears Vivian singing the lullaby to Elias. Rachel then sees Elias in Vivian’s lap and spots blood on his little right palm. She realizes that there’s more to Vivian than meets the eye. Here are the facts- The lullaby has been sung; a beast has been sacrificed—their cockatoo, Papo—and a baby’s blood has been spilled. Does Vivian intend to summon Lilith? Is this her way of getting her child back in exchange for Elias? Will Rachel be able to save her child? Only “Lullaby” can reveal the answer.
The Mother Theory
In “Lullaby,” we have three mothers in pain. First, we have Lilith, who wants to have a baby after being denied by God. All that she has are her half-babies, which bring forth more pain for her. What could have been the greatest blessing turned into a nightmare for her. And frankly speaking, all that Lilith wanted was her child. The reason she was banished from Eden is that she refused to submit. Well, something like this is still prevalent today. In various parts of the world, women are still forced to bow down to patriarchal authority. So, the question is: can we really blame her for doing what she did? We have already mentioned that a mother’s love for her child is the most powerful, and the rage of a mother whose child has been taken from her is unfathomable. “Lullaby” is what happens as a result of that.
Next, we have Vivian, whose baby was also taken from her by Lilith after she sang the lullaby from the book. She uses Rachel to get her baby Zachary back and manages to do so in the end, even at the cost of her own life. This is another proof of the love of a mother who sacrifices herself for her child. Everything else ceases to matter for Vivian when she makes up her mind to bring Zachary back from the clutches of Lilith. Finally, we have Rachel, who, too, takes a stand against Lilith for the sake of her son Elias. While she is pulled into Lilith’s world against her wishes by her sister Vivian, she doesn’t give up and manages to find Elias by recognizing his cry among all the cries of the many babies that Lilith has stolen. She finally defeats Lilith by sending her back to her world and getting back her child. Or does she?
In all three scenarios mentioned above, the common thread is the urge of a mother to get her child back. It is all about the mother’s love; thus, the name “Lullaby.” The word is more often associated with mothers and their babies than anything else. In this way, the film does bring together the different perspectives on the mother’s love, all of which seem different but are motivated by the same intent.
‘Lullaby’ Ending Explained: Does Rachel Get Her Baby Back?
While Rachel does manage to bring a baby back from Lilith’s world, she realizes that it isn’t Elias but Zachary, Vivian’s son. Vivian switched Elias with Zachary before handing him over to Rachel and telling her to escape the underworld while she faced Lilith and prevented her from following Rachel. Vivian is eventually killed by Lilith, who then tries to catch Rachel and pull her back. John thankfully manages to read the spell Rabbi Cohen gave him, and he and Rachel together send Lilith back to the underworld for the final time. Or so it seems because when they find out that the baby isn’t Elias but Zachary, they realize that they have to contact Lilith again to get their baby back. The film ends with John discreetly recovering the book from Cohen’s assistant and bringing it to Rachel. They will have to sing the lullaby again, gain access to Lilith’s world, and bring back Elias. This time, it will be tougher. We do not know if the ending lays the groundwork for a sequel, but it should.
There is also a mid-credits scene that shows Vivian, who has now been possessed by Lilith, singing a lullaby to a baby (hopefully Elias). She is in Lilith’s world. There is also a mirror in front of her. When the lullaby comes to an end, she looks up as if to stare at the mirror. It seems as if she knows that Rachel will come to take her baby, and when she does, Vivian, too, will get Zachary back. Or it can also be that she is just waiting to get her hands on more babies, starting with her own. After all, it is still Lilith inside her. Either way, Rachel will come for her son.
“Lullaby” is a one-time watch that isn’t bad but just lacks the prevalent horror elements. The use of mirrors is also old (Mirrors, Mirrors 2), but the concept is fresh and does deserve praise. To take an angel who has been banished from Eden and use her motherhood against a woman on Earth does connect Heaven and Earth. Moreover, while there is no mention of hell, Lilith’s home is in the underworld and represents her own hell. Thus, we have Heaven, Earth, and Hell connected via a mother’s lullaby. Is there a more surreal way to connect the three? We leave the answer up to you.
“Lullaby” is a 2022 Drama Horror film directed by John R. Leonetti.