Last night I had the immense pleasure of going to see, “The Babadook“. It was without a doubt the scariest movie I have seen in theaters. I avoid seeing scary movies in the theater, they tend to be cliché and predictable. Directors seem to care more about shocking you, than creating a good story arch. Jennifer Kent, the director, did a marvelous job of creating a good terrifying film. Before I spoil it, check it out while it’s still in theaters. As usual, the trailer is below:
Editor’s note: If you aren’t familiar with this, the text below will spoil the film. If you haven’t seen the film, I’d suggest you watch it first and read the rest of this post later.
The Babadook is the touching tale of an single mother, played by Essie Davis attempting to raise her young son, played by Noah Wiseman. Early on we learn that the boy is afraid of a monster in his room. Unfortunately, for them this isn’t just any ordinary monster, it’s “The Babadook”. The Babadook is an entity that terrifies the family. Although the tricks are somewhat cliché, loud bangs, haunting images; they are quite effective.
Early in the film, we learn that neither the boy nor the mother are sleeping well. The boy acts out in school and the mother becomes frustrated with his hijinks. In one scene, when the mother is putting the boy to bed she suggests that he find a book to read. He picks out a pop-up book titled, “The Babadook”. The book is a terrifying cartoon that describes the creature and what it does. The illustrations in that book are frightening. The director did a great job of finding a style that worked well and wasn’t corny. Alex Juhasz did the illustrations for the book; I will be purchasing a copy once it comes out:
Terrifying, amiright? The basic premise behind “The Babadook” is that you can’t get rid of him once he’s chosen you. One thing I enjoyed about the film was ambiguous waking moments. At times, I had trouble figuring out when the characters were dreaming and when they were awake. The film did a good job of handling the family’s slow descent into chaos. The pacing of the film is wonderful.
Watching the film, I found myself awestruck by the acting done on the screen. Both Davis and Wiseman are terrifying and brilliant in their own ways. The Australian accent is quite conducive to scary movies; everything sounds scary down under. There should be more scary movies with Australian actors. The movie breaks down into three parts. The first part deals with the premise that the boy is hearing voices or is possessed. The second part relies on the sleep deprivation encountered by the characters. The final part we learn that “The Babadook” is real.
This brings me to the final thing I wanted to say about the movie. Ninety-five percent of the movie was fantastic; the part I thought was a bit ridiculous waas the ending. The contrived notion that The Babadook, and the family could coexist in the house was silly. Even for a horror movie about a fairy tale. The other moment that I felt was lame was the voice of The Babadook. I thought he could have had more of a growl and could have been less coherent.
If you enjoy a good scare go to the theaters and check it out, it’s well worth the time and money.