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When the Bough Breaks (2016)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, Horror | 9 September 2016 (USA)
2:12 | Trailer

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A surrogate mom for a couple becomes dangerously obsessed with the soon-to-be father.



3,734 ( 524)
1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Todd Decker
Roland White (as Michael K. Williams)
Martin Cooper
Dr. Grace Park
Peter Kaye
Janee Michelle ...
John's Mother
Yoga Instructor
Matthew M. Mitchell ...
Security Guard (as Matt Mitchell)
Security Guard


John and Laura Taylor (Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall) are a young, professional couple who desperately want a baby. After exhausting all other options, they finally hire Anna (Jaz Sinclair), the perfect woman to be their surrogate - but as she gets further along in her pregnancy, so too does her psychotic and dangerous fixation on the husband. The couple becomes caught up in Anna's deadly game and must fight to regain control of their future before it's too late. Written by Sony Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It all went wrong See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexuality/partial nudity, thematic elements, some disturbing images, and language | See all certifications »


Official Sites:




Release Date:

9 September 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Birth Mother  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,202,323, 11 September 2016, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$29,703,843, 6 November 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Morris Chestnut and Glenn Morshower both starred in 24 (2001). See more »


Written by Jhene Aiko (as Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo), Ernest D. Wilson (as Ernest Wilson) and Steve Wyreman
Performed by Jhene Aiko (as Jhené Aiko)
Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings / Artium Records
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

a lame version of an already lame type of bad junk-food for mostly female audiences
9 September 2016 | by See all my reviews

Sure, while everyone else in the critical world seems to be off at TIFF, I'll just stay behind here and watch the swill that gets put in the trough... and now I'm talking to myself. That-that's chaos theory.

It's amazing how with such low expectations When the Bough Breaks manages to surprise with how dull and bloodless most of it is (not to mention being a weak PG-13 when it could just go all out for adults with an R), and then when it needs to bring the insanity it completely drops the ball, miserably. The only decent thing I can say about the whole thing is that Morris Chestnut is trying, but that doesn't mean much when he is given such a script that is an insult to boilers and plates.

My wife informs me that there are actually two other Lifetime movies about surrogate crazy women who are picked by a Happy-Married-Couple(TM), and this does NOT include last year's quasi-satire of these movies as well as Lifetime in general, Will Ferrell & Kristin Wigg's A Deadly Adoption. I'm not sure how these stack up with those filler in-between diaper and make-up commercials (according to her, an avid watcher of those movies for guilty pleasure reasons, this ranks as the worst), but on its own its key problem is that it is written by a guy who has no problem plugging away with the formula and generic beats that come with a story like this - set-up where everything seems fine except for the nasty abusive boyfriend of the surrogate woman (easily a highlight of the movie, but in it too briefly before he's called back as a regular goon in Gotham City) - until he tries to ambiguity for how we feel about this pregnant psycho-hose-beast.

We're force-fed backstory about this young woman, this at around the 2/3rd mark (because of course, and sadly featuring Michael K Williams who doesn't seem to want to be here, and who can blame him), and it doesn't make sense with the rest of how the story unfolds. The information should/could be used perhaps to give us some sympathy for her, or that the husband, who she is trying to seduce, can turn the tables now that he knows who she really is. Neither of these things happen. This info dump turns out to be basically useless, telling us "this bitch is crazy y'all!" but we know this already from after about 20 minutes in. All we're left with them is the last act of Fatal Attraction, and trust me, I wasn't going in expecting that (though I should've by this f***ing point), and yet it doesn't have much madness or fire in its belly to make it a guilty pleasure in any real way.

Because of its dullness it also feels every single one of its 107 minutes - far too long for something that is in essence a weaker version of other *TV movies meant for the lowest discerning denominator* - and except for Chestnut, who also executive produced, this is full of weak and hot air. A shame since, perhaps with a stronger script or a less lazy director, there could be more for newcomer Jaz Sinclair, who has screen presence and chemistry with Chestnut in her scenes with him. Once you know every single step this is going to go, and any potential campy elements are knocked off far too early, it's counting down the minutes till it gets to where it's gonna get to.

It's a piece of Cheese-Filler, and though less ambitious still not quite as awful as Warcraft (current #1 worst of for this year), but it's close enough.

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