‘The Babadook’ Movie Review
I certainly wasn’t expecting this. How often do horror fans see a 98% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes? Once every never? Like every other horror fan, I was excited to sit down and watch a film that terrified ‘The Exorcist‘ director, William Friedkin. He stated: “I’ve never seen a more terrifying film than THE BABADOOK. It will scare the hell out of you as it did me.” That’s a huge compliment. Filmed for a paltry $30K, writer/director, Jennifer Kent, has created a name for herself in a stagnant genre.
‘The Babadook’ is about grief and loss. A young mother (Essie Davis) loses her husband and must raise a rather high-maintenance child (Noah Wiseman) by herself. Already weakened by lack of sleep and her child’s intense demands, the mother reads her son a terrifying book called ‘The Babadook’. Maybe letting that already anxious and intelligent kid read something like ‘The Babadook‘ wasn’t such a great idea to begin with, but I digress. Filled with ominous drawings and the nightmare-inducing line “If it’s in a word, of if it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of The Babadook.” She soon finds this to be true.
What succeeds in this film is a horror anomaly. ‘The Babadook‘ focuses on character-driven relations and intense storytelling/presentation to get under your skin. The film never uses cliché jump-out scares. The viewer knows almost nothing about the titular monster, and that’s the way it should be. There is no origin story or over-explained reasoning behind this monster. We’re burdened with quick glimpses of the thing, and that was enough to kick my imagination into hyper-overdrive. The slow, maddening process exhausts the characters as well as the viewer. The sound engineering is brilliant, making me grimace in anticipated visual horror with the haunting audio harbinger. I have no complaints with this uniquely stripped-down horror presentation and rate it just below ‘Starry Eyes‘, and that was my favorite horror film of 2014.
The mother and son story goes a long way and you’re bound to wonder who’s providing the true protection as the film reaches its dizzying third act. My girlfriend and I cringed and gasped in unison, torturing ourselves with this deeply disturbing film, and I suggest you do the same. This is the stuff of nightmares. Watch it with the lights out if you can bear it.
I’ve been waiting for this to arrive at Redbox for forever now so I can finally watch, lol. I really, really hope it lives up to all the hype!