THE BABADOOK (15)
D: Jennifer Kent
Icon/Entertainment One/IFC (Kristina Ceyton & Kristian Moliere)
Australia/Canada 🇦🇺🇨🇦 2014
W: Jennifer Kent
DP: Radek Ladczuk
Ed: Simon Njoo
Mus: Jed Kurzel
Essie Davis (Amelia Vanek), Noah Wiseman (Samuel Vanek), Hayley McElhinney (Claire), Daniel Henshall (Robbie), Barbara West (Gracie Roach), Ben Winspear (Oskar Vanek)
The Babadook is a low budget Australian horror film with much potential, but it doesn't quite deliver, falling a tad short in the final act following some brilliant build up in the first hour.
A single mother, struggling to cope with the behavioural issues of her son, reads him a bedtime story from a book which seemingly emerges from nowhere. Halfway through reading, she realises the book isn't meant for children at all and must console her crying child to sleep.
In the days that follow strange occurrences happen, preventing the woman from sleep and pushing her closer and closer to violent rage. Is she losing her mind, or is The Babadook a real malevolent spirit causing these paranormal happenings?
The story doesn't quite explain itself, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the climax still feels like a cheat.
It's a shame, since Essie Davis' performance is very good and there are some chilling moments in the opening two acts, especially with the inventiveness and dark artwork of the mysterious book.
The title is incredibly clever, being both an anagram of "a bad book" as well as the onomatopoeic imitation of an unwelcome knock at the door. Director Jennifer Kent also includes some clever references to old, classic horror movies, and the film refrains from bloodthirsty gore and clichéd gimmicks.
It has some faults, but is still head and shoulders above big budget Hollywood horrors released around the same time.
Did You Know:
Director Jennifer Kent holds the rights to the film. When asked if there would be a sequel, she said, "I will never allow any sequel to be made, because it's not that kind of film. I don't care how much I'm offered, it's just not going to happen."