REVIEW: The Babadook

18 12 2014

The Babadook

I generally tend to stay away from horror movies since most are hopelessly derivative and overly dependent on a trademark “jump-out” technique.  (It could be argued, however, that this is true for just about any genre these days.)  Thankfully, I am still in a position where I can just see the horror flicks that have received a decent amount of acclaim and avoid the latest uninspired “Paranormal Activity” installment.

Thus, I heard the buzz surrounding Jennifer Kent’s “The Babadook” and came running.  This indie gem is a seriously impressive first feature as well as an accomplished entry in the horror genre.  It does not rewrite the rulebook or open doors into a brave new world, but it does provide some truly chilling moments.  With a sizable enough cult following, which could easily be built through a Netflix release, this is a film that could conceivably be mentioned in the same breath as “The Ring.”

This psychologically haunting film follows the tormenting of widowed mother Amelia (Essie Davis) and her young son Sam, who displays some behavioral affectations that raise alarm with school administrators.  Their life seems tough enough without the looming presence of a monster.  Amelia reads the tale of The Babadook, a creature from a pop-up book found at their house, and it suddenly assumes a very real form.  It seeps into their consciousness and begins to drive their behavior.

Be sure to amplify the terror by choosing a fitting viewing environment.  Try to watch in a dark room with as many people as possible.  “The Babadook” is definitely very scary, a purposeful product of Kent’s filmmaking and not an unintended externality, but it does need a little artificial stimulation to achieve its aims.  B2halfstars



One response

21 12 2014

Really liked this movie. Not a huge fan of the horror genre recently, but this was a breath of fresh air for me. Great performance by Essie Davis, too.

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