With much anticipation, I finally got down to watching this flick. Going in, I suspected it was not going to be your every day horror film.
A single mother named Amelia, struggles with the grief of the horrific accident which took her husband’s life. Her son Samuel is a troubled young 6-year-old kid with behavioral issues, and massive source of stress for his mom Amelia. Samuel begins to hallucinate and see things and tells his mom about it with no luck of course in her believing him. The two of them find a strange book in the house called ‘The Babadook”, which they read together. The strange creature in the book is one Samuel is convinced has been showing up in his visions. Amelia’s frustration with Samuel’s violent and strange behavior reaches a boiling point, and she has him put on medication. Not very long after, Amelia begins experiencing the presence of something dark and sinister in the home, and her sanity comes into question immediately.
Motherhood, loneliness, anxiety and stress all play a big part in The Babadook. It’s one of those movies that will split audiences on what is actually happening in the story, and the metaphor dangled by the director throughout the film is one that may go right over certain viewers heads, likely resulting in some questioning the quality and their enjoyment of the film.
Director Jennifer Kent, masterfully crafted a slow-building terror with terrific and horrific atmosphere. Most of the movie looks really clean to me, but what is underneath the surface is dark as hell, and I really appreciated that contrast. The scares weren’t anything that truly made me cringe while sitting and watching, but were effectively done without any cheap tactics to get the viewer jumping off his or her seat. I found myself appreciating this film much more the moments after it finished. There were times in its duration where I felt it was maybe dragging just by the littlest of bits, but generally, as mentioned already, the pacing is superb.
A lot of reviewers love to flaunt how good this flick is in comparison to the more recent supernatural/possession horror movies. I don’t necessarily go along with that train of thought. For one, not every supernatural movies that has come out the last few years “sucked” some were decent and a few were exceptional. The Babadook should be judged in a class of its own. If someone wanted to argue that this is more of a dark psychological drama rather than a horror movie, I wouldn’t put up much of a fight against it.
Truly a must-see horror flick from 2014.
– JP Thorn