Deadly Midwife (2023) Movie Review – Watchable Tubi Pregnancy Thriller
Lauren and Anthony hire a new midwife after their last one mysteriously disappears, but things may not be as they appear.
Welcome to Knockout Horror. We are taking a bit of a break from the norm today as we will be reviewing thriller movie Deadly Midwife from 2023. I try my best to focus, predominantly, on horror movies but anyone who has a horror movie review site will tell you. It is almost impossible not to throw in the occasional thriller movie here and there.
After all, there is a fair bit of cross-over between the two genres and the lines frequently blur. Let’s be real for a minute, as well. There was no way I could see that awful title, that laughably bad cover and that “Tubi Original” tag without checking this out. I mean, for the past few months, that’s exactly what I do. I watch terrible Tubi movies. So how does this one hold up? Let’s take a look.
If you arrived at this review looking for an Ending Explained article for Deadly Midwife, you are in luck. I just finished writing one and you can check it out here – Deadly Midwife Ending Explained. It’s not spoiler free, unlike this review, and it is quite long so keep that in mind.
Tubi Original Pregnancy Thriller
We have covered a fair few pregnancy themed horror movies here on Knockout Horror. In fact, I have put together a small list that has proved to be far more popular than I ever thought it would be. This is, clearly, a topic that horror fans enjoy and, you know what? I get it. When is a person in a more vulnerable state than when they are heavily pregnant? There are so many fears and anxieties associated with pregnancy that it’s pretty much a no-brainer when it comes to horror. There are just so many different ways you can explore the topic.
One of the underrated concerns surrounding pregnancy, that seems to be rarely explored in horror. Is the invasion of privacy and the introduction of a whole bevy of new people in to your lives. Midwives, health care workers, doctors.. The list goes on and on. Director Monika Mitchell and writers Helen Marsh and Carolyn Woolner aim to explore this side of pregnancy rather than the more common body horror and demon child aspects.
A Different Approach to Pregnancy Terror
Deadly Midwife is one of those movies that, unashamedly, gives away its entire plot in its title. Heavily pregnant Lauren (Jessica Lowndes) is devastated to find that the woman who raised her like she was her own child. And the woman who was set to act as her midwife during her pregnancy has gone missing. Scared and angry at the police’s dismissal of her concerns. Lauren is forced to get on with life and find a new midwife. When a woman mysteriously arrives and applies for the job. Lauren, impressed by her qualifications, hires her, seemingly completely unaware of what the midwife has in store for her.
Naturally, Lauren’s vulnerable state plays a key part in the movie’s plot. She is heavily pregnant and it is hinted at that this is a somewhat risky pregnancy. She is supposed to be avoiding stress so when the things start going drastically wrong in her life, it is, obviously, a massive cause for concern. It doesn’t help matters that the person Lauren is supposed to be able to trust with, not only, her life but also the life of her baby. Clearly has sordid intentions. Lauren has to overcome tremendous odds to unravel the mysterious events taking place in her formerly perfect life.
I’ll take a brief detour here for a second to say how great it is to see female writers and a female director here. It’s much better to explore this topic from a woman’s point of view. But does the movie work? Well, that’s kind of hard to say. It really depends on what you are looking for out of Deadly Midwife. Are you happy to watch a thriller that does everything by the book and projects every single plot twist and turn? Or would you prefer a movie that actually keeps its plot elements close to its chest and aims to surprise? Because if you are looking for the latter, you absolutely won’t find that here.
Extremely Predictable Thriller
Deadly Midwife is a little strange in that the plot does twist and turn a fair bit. But it almost goes out of its way to project the twists. Nothing here ever comes as a surprise. Each major development is incredibly obvious and the writers never really attempt to swerve the viewer. It’s almost like a thriller without the thrill. It’s not as if this is a tremendously bad thing. Some thrillers are just like this. But it does mean that this movie definitely won’t satisfy serious fans of thrillers. There’s just not much to grab on to here.
In fact, I would go as far as to say that there is an almost “middle of the afternoon, Lifetime movie” quality to Deadly Midwife. Perhaps this should be expected given director Monika Mitchell’s TV movie pedigree. It feels like something you would stumble across while trying to escape the various chat shows that pollute TV during the day. Daughter in Disguise was very similar. They are movies that don’t require a ton of thought, they aren’t particularly offensive, but they aren’t particularly thrilling either. You’d be happy to sit through one. Occasionally glancing up while reading a magazine or having a nap and don’t need to be too invested in the plot.
There is a certain campiness to movies like this that I think people almost expect. Deadly Midwife is no different. It is utterly silly in parts and clearly made to inspire viewers to yell at their televisions. The bad guys are almost cartoon villain bad and make no attempts at hiding it. The things that happen are beyond ridiculous and I suppose that is part of the charm.
Takes Few Risks
Deadly Midwife is completely content to stay within its thriller-lite trappings. Never daring to venture out or take any risks. The villains are obvious, their motivations are fairly easy to guess and the outcome is predictable. There is little in the way of violence and the movie is never all that tense or atmospheric. There are quite a few things that happen that are pretty farcical and few moments of eye rolling stupidity by certain characters. But that is par for the course in these movies. There is some exploration into the subjects of mental illness and grief which is definitely welcome. But it plays out in a rather familiar manner. This is a movie that, for the most part, is the same thriller you have seen a million times before.
Deadly Midwife goes heavy into the very trendy topic of gas lighting which will either annoy or entertain depending on your point of view. Unlike many similar movies; I do have to commend some of the writing here regarding this subject as it is pretty well done. The people manipulating and undermining Lauren do it in a way that is both subtle and very accurate. The depictions of narcissism and coercion stand out for being well researched and convincing. It feels like one of the more considered presentations of the subject which is quite surprising given the relatively simple story being told here.
Still Completely Watchable
Despite my criticisms, Deadly Midwife is still a completely watchable thriller. I am not the world’s biggest fan of movies like this but it certainly does an okay job of scratching that itch. It doesn’t demand too much of the viewer. It tries to keep you guessing while never really being too convoluted. The story is fairly simple and there are enough twists and turns, albeit it obvious ones, to keep things flowing along nicely. It’s easy to get behind Lauren’s struggles and some of the side characters are quite fun, Julie (Lauren K. Robek) in particular.
If you are a fan of movies like this, I am sure it will fit the bill pretty nicely. It’s not going to blow you away and it won’t surprise you a great deal. But it is enjoyable enough. If you like made for TV thrillers then I think you will be getting exactly what you want from this. A movie that is not too graphic, not too violent, full of easy to hate assholes and a protagonist that is easy to get behind. If you are a fan of pregnancy themed thrillers and horrors then that may just be a bonus for you. You won’t come away from this feeling like you have watched the best thriller ever and it is a bit silly in parts. But you won’t be wasting your time, either.
Acting and Cinematography are Okay
As I mentioned above, there is a distinct campiness to this movie and that extends to the acting. Every character is played as an exaggerated version of certain stereotypes. Be it horrible, narcissistic, manipulators or seductive women with Fatal Attraction-esque dark sides. Jessica Lowndes (90210), as Lauren, is fine. Doing exactly what is asked of her as a woman in distress, determined not to be beat by the people around her. Elysia Rotaru (Girl House) is tremendous fun as Midwife Olivia. Seemingly having a great time switching between caring midwife and “person who walks around another woman’s house scantily clad and eating cheese”.
Matthew MacCaull, as Lauren’s husband Anthony, feels like exactly what you would expect from a character like this in a Lifetime movie. He has some decent moments towards the end of the film. Lauren K. Robek does a nice job as Julie and has some great moments of physicality throughout. I also enjoyed Gabrielle Jacinto as Rachel though her role is fairly brief. Like I said, everything here is very camp and every performance has a made for TV vibe. Everyone here knew what kind of movie this was and performed to type.
Cinematography is exactly what you would expect for a movie like this. It looks like a Lifetime, middle of the afternoon, movie. Locations are gorgeous but the 16:9 aspect ratio offers a feeling of cheapness that is all too common with movies like this. Colours are a bit washed out and everything looks a little bit soap-opera-esque. Dialogue can be a bit silly at times and the script has some fairly weak moments but it is generally fine.
Final Thoughts and Score
Deadly Midwife is exactly what I would expect out of a Tubi Original thriller. It looks like a made for television, Lifetime, movie. It has a bunch of twists and turns that are consistently projected and not all that surprising. And It is never all that thrilling, descending into farce frequently. There is a distinct campiness to the movie and it is pretty ridiculous for much of its length. Despite all of this, it is still pretty watchable. Acting is fine, the story has enough twists to keep you interested and it’s comical for how ridiculous it is. It’s not a brilliant movie by any stretch but it’s not without its charm.