Director: Jennifer Kent
Cast: Esse Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall
Poster of 'The Babadook'. Pic/Santa Banta
It's been a disappointing year for horror film buffs, until now. The Australian movie 'The Babadook' has got pretty much everything covered to creep you out, give you a series of sleepless nights and offer an iconic monster for you to cherish.
The story revolves around a single mother whose already tragic life with a mentally unstable kid becomes a nightmare every time his birthday arrives. This time around, she finds in her house a children's storybook that has a poem about a scary dude called The Babadook who knocks on your door thrice at night, then enters your house, and does unspeakable things to you. Sure enough all of those things start happening, for real, and you're taken on a hell of a scary ride as she battles the monster.
The best thing about 'The Babadook' is that it doesn't rely on gimmicky bump-in-the-dark-jump scares. There is a sense of something truly creepy that permeates every frame of the film – you actually feel a malevolent presence lurking around in the shadows of the house. It's a sign of great direction, and the excellent sound and production design really add a layer of creepiness to the atmosphere. When a horror movie makes you really uncomfortable in your seat, it's a testament to great filmmaking.
The film also transcends the cliches of the haunted house possessed kid genre by pulling the rug from under your feet in the third act. Moreover, there is a beautifully explored psychological standpoint of a person with real issues being made to face the unacceptable. Most horror movies have cardboard characters who pop off like ninepins and you forget about them. But this film has themes of guilt, remorse, the need for emotional support that are incredibly well established – and it's all these things that make you care for the central characters in the film. As a bonus, Esse Davis renders a truly jaw dropping performance as the increasingly volatile mother desperate to save her increasingly volatile son.
'The Babadook' is one of the best films of the year, and even more joyous to behold for horror film buffs. It's more than you expect it to be and it's one of the rare films where the buildup lives up to the finale. Mr Babadook is also one of the most interesting demons to have graced the big screen recently – one just hopes never to come in contact with the guy though.