The Babadook (2014)
Director: Jennifer Kent
Writer: Jennifer Kent
Starring: Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall
The Babadook is an Australian horror film with a very original premise and a very successful execution. The plot follows a widow raising her young son. One day, her son finds a pop-up book labeled “The Babadook” and asks his mother to read it to him. But upon reading the creepy book to him, strange things happen. What at first seems to be a small boy’s over active imagination turns into a mother’s nightmarish fight to protect her son from an otherworldly force.
The acting is very well done. The character dynamic between the mother and son is convincing and authentic.This isn’t some sunshiny relationship and it is not a bad one. It’s a realistic one. Sometimes kids, let’s face it, can be annoying shits. And sometimes mothers have a hard time coping. But at the end of it all, this mother loves her son and protects him against an unspeakable entity.
This film is not a typical horror movie. It is very story driven. No schlock and gore here. No nudity and hardly any blood. And that’s because this is more than just a horror movie, it is a drama. The Babadook entity takes a back seat to the character dynamic of this mother and son, acting as a plot device as she tries to cope with her problem child. But it is, at the end of the day, a horror movie. There are a lot of scenes in this film handled flawlessly, coming across in a genuinely creepy manner. The scenes with the Babadook, specifically, are handled well. The entity’s true visage is kept a mystery, the creature also shrouded in shadow, revealing only parts, never the entirety, of the monster. It brings to mind the addage that, as we are all different and afraid of different things, our minds can create a more intimately frightening idea specific to ourselves than any director ever can. It’s a style that harkens back to great masters like John Carpenter. It is subtlety, a nearly lost art, and a true breath of fresh air.
This movie is going to be an instant classic! I cannot recommend it enough!
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