Review: The Babadook (2014, Causeway Films)




Category: Dark Fantasy, Psychological
Directed by:
Jennifer Kent

Written by: Jennifer Kent
Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman
Music: Jed Kurzel
Cinematography: Radek Ladczuk

The Babadook is an Australian horror film about widowed Amelia who struggles to deal with her son Samuel’s erratic behavior and obsession with an imaginary boogeyman. Soon the line between reality and fable is blurred as strange occurrences begin to plague Amelia. The Babadook has met acclaim throughout it’s festival run from critics and viewers alike, and I must say the film lives up to the hype.

Lead Essie Davis does a fantastic job portraying a beaten down mother who’s carrying far too much emotional baggage, it’s real easy to feel for her considering how wacked her child is. Samuel drove me nuts in the first third of the movie, but young Noah Wiseman’s acting chops come through as the movie goes on, his character gaining sympathy after showing honest concern for his mother once things start getting weird. These two really steal show as most of the events of the film unfold in their household, the whole story weighing on the mother-son dynamic.

Kent creates an excellent dark atmosphere throughout her film, I’m a sucker for movies that blend horror with fable/urban myth themes. While I was a little underwhelmed with how the Babadook itself looked, but it was still a creepy flick with it’s well executed less-is-more approach complimented by a minimalistic, eerie score. That pop-up was fucking sweet too, even if for some reason you didn’t like the movie, you gotta admit that book was tits. Which is exactly why I ordered one. The film hits some pretty dark territory at certain points, the themes of mental illness and loss of control often being more haunting than the actions of a boogeyman. In the end you can choose the view the story as an allegory or as a literal horror story, or however way you wish to think of it. I like when there’s some loose ends after a movie is over, it’s good food for thought.

Overall, a great fantasy/psychological horror film rife with flawless acting and atmosphere that will surely suck you into it’s enticing story. All you have to do is get over Sam’s obnoxious and dreadful outbursts in the beginning of the film. If William Friedkin, director of  The Exorcist, calls this the scariest film ever made; It’s got to have some merit.





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