A cornucopia of maternal failures, psychological lunacy, and children’s storybooks with high atmospheric tension & old-fashioned scares by a unique concept & stark artistic direction, The Babadook is a showcase of indie horror imagination. 7.9/10.
Plot Synopsis: When a disturbing storybook called ‘The Babadook‘ turns up at their house, Samuel (Noah Wiseman) becomes convinced the creature is stalking their home. At first, his mother Amelia (Essie Davis) writes it off as another silly children’s tale, but upon noticing strange occurrences throughout the house, she starts to question her sanity.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
In-Depth Review Coming Soon
Pros: thrilling trippy opening scene, fantastic setup and character development, absolutely genius and innovative concept of creepy children’s story figures coming to life and scaring the kids – some of the hardest hitting horror, Babadook fantastically designed – horrifying both in the book in a sort of artistically gothic way and represented visually in the film, horrifying children’s book and story of the Babadook and scene revealing his lore, hipster film elements that are a breath of fresh air for the Horror genre – can see why it won at Sundance Film Festival, atmospheric horror and escalating tension that doesn’t simply rely on jump scares but achieves horror the old-fashioned way, a couple of good jump-scares even though they’re respectably not the focus, smart and witty reversal of the stereotypical children’s “there’s a monster there” mentality, intriguing and richly-written character in the haunted mother who’s past we learn more and more about as the story unfolds, drab cinematography, colors, and aura well-designed and adds to the unsettling feeling, not too long, absolutely wild scene when the book comes back and the horror starts, stylish direction and story/set design, psychological horror hits hard as the lines start to blend between reality and fantasy, thoughtful metaphoric analysis about motherhood and the duality between having to be forever forgiving and unconditionally loving but also having secret dark thoughts, strong horrorful iconography and plays on the sleeplessness/losing your mind angle, horrific idea of turning your most trusted ones into the slashers, absolutely breathtaking acting by Essie Davis as Amelia – one of the most horrifying performances I can remember in horror, reminiscent of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari but a modernized version while taking other horror imagery into the mix, phenomenal middle and final acts (except for last 5 minutes), brisk pacing that keeps you thoroughly invested the just-right and respectably not-prolonged 1hr30min runtime, mystery and intrigue hard to keep that well in today’s era, such an original premise and style by Jennifer Kent, unbelievable cinematography and attention to detail – every shot has a purpose in fleshing out the story/characters, a sign of the originality and heart modern half-baked same-franchise sequels are missing, legendary storytelling in that the monster isn’t really a monster but might be the ghosts of her psyche having to deal with her husband’s death and that’s why, ballsy deicision to not fill the movie with horror clichés, teenage scream queens, or easier jump-scares but actually tell a deep story making meaningful analysis on the nature of human horror
Cons: unbearably annoying kid in Noah Wiseman’s Samuel – absolutely awful and perhaps one of the most agitating performances I have ever seen in his high- pitched whining and constant screaming.. why didn’t they get a better actor as it literally holds the movie back tremendously and detracts from the experience, takes a little too long to get to the horror, no extremely clear shot of the titular monster and many missed opportunities, his “Baba” mantra very cheesy and unnecessary – wish it weren’t there as it takes away from his otherwise effective scariness, weird ending – makes sense if you really think about symbolism but still off-putting when he’s chilling in the basement,
Overall Rating: 7.6/10