Fearing one’s own child is something this reviewer has never had to experience, but Jennifer Kent does a fantastic job of instilling that sense of self-loathing and loneliness with her debut effort ‘The Babadook’.
Essie Davis steals the show in this minimalistic Aussie Horror
Few things are more terrifying than feeling alone, as it is in this situation that we are forced to confront our deepest, darkest problems. Essie Davis steals the show in this minimalistic Aussie Horror as Amelia, a single mum still caring about a world that has given up on her.
We see her pushed to the brink, with six (soon to be seven) year-old fatherless son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) an absolute nightmare, misbehaving violently and obsessed with monsters. Amelia’s partner was killed whilst driving her to the hospital to give birth, and thus Samuel’s birthday has become a strange affair; what should be a day of celebration for the child has become a day of mourning for his mother.
As with all great scary movies, the real fear comes from seeing what our heroine could become
She is pushed to the point of despair, and as with all great scary movies, the real fear comes from seeing what our heroine could become. The worst (and perhaps most impressive) part about the whole thing for us is that we can understand why people judge her, be it her sister, the doctor or the police.
Samuel discovers a book about a boogeyman type figure called the Babadook, and the film gets genuinely scary. The greatest terror in any movie comes not from anything visual, but sound design and smart editing, manipulating the audience’s imagination against itself.
The second half of The Babadook will have you sweating
The second half of the film will have you sweating – not just from the strange knocks and rattly, Ju-On-esque repetition of ‘Baba-dook,dook,dook’ – but also from watching Amelia, a fundamentally good person, succumb to her grief and loneliness.
If you have a spare 90 minutes, sit yourself down, turn off the lights, and let Essie Davis show you how to stop turning into your own Babadook. Jennifer Kent is one to look out for.
‘The Babadook’ is available on Netflix, Itunes, Amazon Video, Sundance now and any collection of modern classics.
Review by Nick Inglis. Contact Nick at nickinglis77 at gmail.com.