Before “The Babadook” There Was “Monster”

See the short film that inspired the breakout horror hit of 2014.



Written and directed by Jennifer Kent, The Babadook was the breakout horror hit of 2014. While it wasn’t universally lauded, it’s nonetheless one of the most talked-about and hotly debated genre films of the 21st Century. While The Babadook was Kent’s feature film debut, most fans are unaware that it was inspired by a short-film she wrote and directed years earlier called Monster.

Released in 2005 and screened at over 50 film festivals worldwide, Monster plays out like a blue-print of The Babadook, with similar structures and key elements. There’s the lonely & depressed single mother, the rambunctious & hyperactive son (named Samuel, just like his counterpart in The Babadook), a the dark & sinister entity stalking their halls—and an ominously haunting pop-up book.



Official Synopsis: A single mother battles her son’s fear of a monster in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.

The major aesthetic difference between the two movies is that Monster is filmed in black & white. This creates a unique tonality, giving Kent’s first film a retro feel, like an older episode of The Twilight Zone. Black & white also enhances the nightmare quality of Monster, creating a vibe reminiscent of Eraserhead—almost nauseating, but in a way that really ratchets up the tension.

The ending of Monster is similar to the final scene in The Babadook, and may offer insight into Kent’s intentions… or it may leave you even more confused! Either way, it will certainly inspire conversation among fans of surrealistic, metaphorical horror.

Jennifer Kent

Jennifer Kent

Watching Monster is like getting a look at The Babadook in utero, a black & white sonogram that reveals something unnerving in the murky darkness—gestating.

What do you think about Jennifer Kent’s short film Monster? Are you a fan of The Babadook? Sound off in the Comments section!

Follow me on Twitter @josh_millican for quality horror articles worthy of your attention.




2 Comments on this post.

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  • Mike Crowley
    24 August 2015 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    Very much like an abstract of the movie–hits a lot of the same notes. Amazing she carried this around with her for a decade before she could make it into a full-length movie.

  • Saturday Shorts: Monster – The Backseat Driver Reviews
    1 June 2016 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    […] linking to Josh Millican’s article on Jennifer Kent, where you can find Monster embedded: Click here to go to and watch Monster. First thought: damn, you can tell right off the bat that Kent worked with Lars von Trier. As I […]