The Babadook Movie Review
Written by Charlotte Stear
Released by Icon Entertainment
Written and directed by Jennifer Kent
2014, 93 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
Released on 24th October 2014
Essie Davis as Amelia
Daniel Henshall as Robbie
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight as Supermarket Mum
Noah Wiseman as Samuel
Tim Purcell as The Babadook
Craig Behenna as Warren
Greetings from Grimmfest! The annual horror festival that takes place in Manchester, UK is back and kicked off events with a screening of The Babdook.
Amelia is a single mother tortured by the loss of her husband who tragically died while driving her to the hospital to have their son. Six years on, her son, adamant on keeping his dad's spirit alive, makes her struggles harder with an obsession about a monster that lurks in the house. After reading a mysteriously macabre storybook at night called simply Mister Babadook, it is soon not just her son who is seeing things and life begins to unravel for Amelia.
It is a brave thing to say that The Babadook is the chilling supernatural movie we've been waiting for, but that's exactly it. The Babadook perfectly captures the paralysing fear we all experienced as children, when the lights go out and your imagination takes over, scared to shut your eyes and even more scared to open them. This feeling will come back as the events of the movie unfold. This film succeeds where others failed (Insidious for example), in that the filmmakers know less is always more. The many references to the silent era littered throughout cement the fact that classic scares work. The Babadook creature is on screen a handful of times, but its presence is felt throughout and the anticipation is incredible. When you do see it, it's never long enough for it to become silly, or unbelievable. This is truly creepy stuff.
But it isn't really the monster that's frightening, that's just a small part. The psychological aspect of the single mother losing her mind, her once loving relationship with her son torn apart and genuine fear of what is going to happen to them both will really horrify you. An amazing performance by Essie Davis moves effortlessly from a mother painfully struggling to cope with her loss and a demanding six year-old, to a woman losing her mind, both portrayals are breath-taking in their honesty and brutality.
The sound department for the film has to be given special praise, not since The Grudge have human vocals been so pants-wettlingly fear inducing. Also, the artwork for the creepy children's book is something that would sell by the bucket loads if it were released... if it wasn't for the nightmarish creatures it ultimately conjures.
The Babadook's greatest quality is the long lasting effect it will have on you. What is a Babadook? What did that all mean? This movie is a thinker and a triumph for the horror world.