Director: Jennifer Kent
Starring: Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall and Tim Purcell
Run Time: 93 minutes
When I first saw the trailer for The Babadook, it looked extremely intense and creepy, which are the two most frightening factors in a movie for me. Although I don’t believe in monsters (I definitely don’t believe in them…) I hate the thought of dark looming creatures waiting in the shadows, so obviously I presumed this film would definitely provide some scares, but the experience that this film gives you delves deeper than the frightened emotional state.
The opening scene is a powerful insight to the trauma that has cursed mother Amelia and her troubled son Samuel. We see the devastating car crash that leaves her husbandless and her newborn child fatherless. Eight years have passed, and Amelia is still struggling to cope with the death of her husband, whilst battling against her difficult son who is obsessed and petrified with invisible monsters. As their problems continue to grow and the both of them emotionally deteriorate, a persistent presence only know as the Babadook plagues them further, haunting them into isolation and despair.
This film has to be one of the most intelligent and provocative pieces of work I have seen this year, it’s brought a refreshing and new idea to horror. When you originally go into this film, it looks like your average scary monster hiding in the house, but it’s not that at all. It is clear from the offset that this is a broken family, ferociously trying to cling on to normality and the slight hope of happiness. We’re originally presented with a possessive child, who has convinced himself of monsters, which is causing him to destroy nearly everything in his path, with dangerous consequences. To be honest, at the beginning of the film, I absolutely detested Samuel; I even thought I probably would have smothered him by then. But he turns out to be a child with initiative, and an eye for knowing what’s really going on.
As the film progresses, there are major changes in Amelia’s behaviour and Samuel’s behaviour, almost a role reversal in personalities. The loathing of the young boy turns into empathy and pity, and the sympathy for the broken mother turns into disgust and anger. The Babadook presents us with a sense of dread and uneasiness, however you get the feeling that maybe this monster isn’t the monster we should be scared of.
I would rather not say too much about this film as I’d rather you just go and watch it immediately, and then decide for yourself. But lets put it this way; The Babadook isn’t your average monster movie, its an emotional rollercoaster which demonstrates the affects of loss, grief, hatred and that the real monsters often walk amongst us on this planet. Remember, you can’t get rid of the Babadook…
Verdict: 5 out of 5