A widower, struggling with the tragic death of her husband and her young troubled son’s obsession with an imaginary monster that stalks them, soon finds that their demons are all too real in this terrifying Aussie psychological horror indie.
At first glance ‘The Babadook’ might seem like your classic “Boogeyman” horror flick, and in a way it is, but in her feature length debut writer/director Jennifer Kent has achieved something far more substantial here. Kent manages to masterfully craft a creepy and terrifying film that learns the lessons from decades of horror filmmaking, while remaining fresh and injecting a level of depth into a genre that has relied heavily on gore and formulaic jump-scares for many years now.
Armed with a modest budget, Kent takes the supernatural and psychological aspects of ‘The Shining’ and combines them with the demonic possession elements of ‘The Exorcist’ to craft a creepy but insightful horror picture that builds slowly but purposefully to a seat-clenching peak.
The film revolves around the lives of a single mother who has repressed her devastation at the tragic loss of her husband, and who struggles to juggle her work with taking care of her seemingly out of control son who’s plagued by the premonitions in a creepy book, which foretells the coming of a destructive evil force to their home.
‘The Babadook’ is both an intimate psychological thriller and a straight up “boogeyman” horror, but the brilliance of this film is the added dimension at its heart which makes this ominous entity both a literal and metaphoric threat, both a terrifying creature and the devastating inner demons formed by tragedy and loss, fuelled by grief and manifested in the ultimate of bogeymen, despair.
We must also praise the performances of Essie Davis as the long-suffering mother and Noah Wiseman as the young son, who’s performance is so convincing, at times it’s like a living advert for not having children.
The Bottom Line…
Built on the foundations of classic psychological horror films, ‘The Babadook’ is a wonderfully crafted little indie horror gem with more layers than most 21st century horror fare, and will creepily hold your attention throughout.
After moving into their new quiet American suburban home, a family experiences a series of strange events somehow linked to their daughter, after she disappears they will try any unorthodox method to get her back while fighting against the sinister supernatural forces in their once picture-postcard home, a horror classic produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre).
Directed by Tobe Hooper and starring JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson and Heather O’Rourke among others.