When the Bough Breaks (2016) – Suspense Movie Review



By Melissa Antoinette Garza


It’s a Sunday and Steve’s downstairs watching some YOUTUBE shows where best friends play videogames and I’m up here watching some big-screen, Lifetime style, chick-flick thrillers.

The first on the list was WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS (2016).  This is actually a lot more terrifying because, come to find out, much of the storyline has happened to numerous other people.  Of course, it’s dramatized, crazy fun, but there’s more to it than the average “obsessed woman” story.

The plot follows a couple who can’t conceive on their own, but otherwise have an ideal marriage.  Laura (Regina Hall) and John Taylor (Morris Chestnut) are excited to find a 21-year-old Anna Walsh (Jaz Sinclair) who volunteers to be a surrogate.  The Taylor’s have Anna and her fiancé Mike (Theo Rossi) over for dinner.  John doesn’t like Mike and his instincts prove correct, when he beats the hell out of Anna.

Thankfully, the baby is fine, but the Taylor’s decide not to take any chances.  They welcome Anna into their guest home and give her full access to their house.  Soon, Anna falls for John.  He tries to make it abundantly clear that he’s uninterested, but Anna becomes more and more obsessed.


As the last viable embryo was used on Anna, and Laura wants everything to go smoothly, John tries to shield her from Anna’s advances.  Things spiral out of control when Anna sends John sexy videos to him at work and then shows up unannounced.

John tells her that he’s is love with his wife and Anna threatens to leave, take the baby and sell it for 15K.  Legally (and this is the scary part) despite it being Laura’s egg and John’s sperm, the baby is Anna’s.  It doesn’t matter how much money the duo give to Anna or what type of papers or agreement was signed, because the embryo isn’t considered formed until it attaches to the uterine wall, the surrogate has full control.

When I watched the film, I thought that premise was a crazy one.  I didn’t know that it was based in fact.  It’s insane that a surrogate mother could change their mind and keep a child that isn’t biologically theirs.   I can see a case being made when two embryos attach and the bio-parents want the surrogate to abort one, but when the parents want the babies, it seems like a no-brainer.

WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS is a unique thriller that slipped off the radar near instantly.  It made nearly triple its budget back, scoring 29 million at the box office, but it deserved far more recognition.

Morris Chestnut was terrific as the devoted husband, who would do anything to protect his wife and unborn child.  Chestnut displayed both a strength and softness that made it easy to see why both John’s wife and Anna fell for him.


Regina Hall did wonderful as Laura.  There was a level of genuine kindness to the character, who despite having the personal reasons for wanting Anna safe, also sincerely had sympathy for her.  That said, she wasn’t blind.  She saw the adoration the girl had for her husband, but dismissed it as a crush that John could handle.

Lastly, Jaz Sinclair was perfect as the antagonist.  There were many different aspects to Anna’s personality.  In the beginning, there as a lot to like about Anna and it was easy to feel sorry for what she was going through with her ex.

Sinclair showed Anna’s transition to insane in a believable and horrifying manner that brought so much tension into the production.

I highly suggest this film.  It was absolutely fantastic and everything about it made for a great production.  You can purchase it for $9.99 on Amazon or check your local library, that’s where I found my copy.




Scared Stiff Rating: 8/10