If it’s in a word…if it’s in a look…you can’t get rid of…The Babadook! William Friedkin (director of The Exorcist) said “I’ve never seen a more terrifying film than The Babadook.” I am in complete agreement with Mr. Friedkin.With a modestly low budget of $30,071, this Australian horror movie produces effective scares through first-rate writing, directing, and incredible acting. There’s little to no special effects. Jennifer Kent wrote and directed this film; this movie also marks her first feature film to date. This is surprising because her instincts behind the camera are not amateur. She uses an eerie score by Jed Kurzel as a way to differentiate between the psychological terrors within the protagonist Amelia (a superb Essie Davis) and the “real world,” which is in equal parts just as terrifying. What’s so unique and amazing about this film is that it uses real life drama, a truth, to give purpose to the horrors of ‘The Babadook.’ Everyday things become places for terror: like driving in a car or looking out your kitchen window to see what your neighbor is doing. The real fear in this very intelligent film is caused by the stress that a single mother endures when they have gotten no sleep and no help all while raising a boy who everyone has deemed “disturbed.” Every mother’s worst fear is to not be a caring and nurturing parent. Take away the monster, the demon…and we’re left with something quite scary. That’s how I knew The Babadook was a high caliber horror flick.
Suppression is a theme that runs throughout the movie. Amelia is a mother who is still grieving the loss of her husband seven years ago; she has a mental breakdown anytime someone even mentions her husband’s name. She is struggling as a mother to raise her young boy Samuel, as he has fits constantly especially revolving around monsters that are suppose to be make believe. He has no friends, broke his cousin’s nose and even brought a weapon to school, causing more reason to think that Samuel is seriously troubled. Amelia can’t deny the horrors of her past, present and of ‘The Babadook.’ Once she reads Samuel the bed time story of this monster, the genres of this film begin to explode into a piece of work that is extraordinarily realized. And if there’s any justice at this years Academy Awards, Essie Davis will be nominated for Best Actress. Ms. Davis’s range as an actress is used expertly here as her character shifts from passive mother to…well…you’ll just have to see for yourself! 10/10
I feel as if after 2011’s Cabin in the Woods, there have been some really fantastic horror films to come out aka: The Conjuring, We Are What We Are, and You’re Next…just to name a few. I’m glad filmmakers listened to the Woods’ message!
The Babadook– ON DEMAND