Number 29 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : After Amelia looses her husband she and her child fall into a deep well of paranoia when a creepy children’s book titled “Mister Babadook” manifests in their home : Aussie Jennifer Kent wrote and directed THE BABADOOK after securing it’s budget of $2.5 million via Kickstarter : I must confess after seeing the movie for the first time I was terrified and struggled sleeping for days after, the imagery and the darkness that consumed the screen throughout the movie tugged deep into my soul and I couldn’t stop thinking of this poor family desimated by the loss of a father & husband, the mum then having to cope by herself with her imaginative & energetic young son was scary in itself, let alone this hideous, life sucking creature that invades their world : Essie Davis & Noah Wiseman give the film it’s heart, their chemistry playing mother & son is downnright believable, the old house in the movie was specifically built for the film and it’s fair to say that Jennifer Kent was influenced by the style of old horror movies and maybe even the Lon Chaney era whilst filming : along with the possession and what follows, one of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the Amelia visits the local police station to report being terrorised by someone or something, watching Essie’s performance in this scene her head swimming with fear and paranoia is quite special, like a character from an old Hitchcock movie : The Babadook is not only one of the finest horror movies I’ve seen, with one of the scariest adversary‘s but it’s also a draining experience, a hard watch that concerns the welfare of a young child, the evil that lurkes and the battle of a family torn apart by with what life has dealt them : interestingly Babadook is an anagram of A bad book ★★★★½
There’s always been great movies that have come out of Australia : Walkabout, Picnic at hanging Rock, Mad Max, Gallipoli, Crocodile Dundee, Dead Calm, Romper Stomper, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Tomorrow When the War Began, Animal Kingdom, Wolf Creek, Snowtown & many many more… And in 2014 Australian Cinema has continued its fine tradition of bringing us yet more fresh, well acted, gritty & excitingly told new movies – of course there are so many quality films out there but here’s my 5 must see Aussie flicks of 2014
The Babadook (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★½
“Baba dook dook dook!!!“
Director: Jennifer Kent – Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Tiffany Lyndall-Knight & Tim Purcell – Synopsis: a single mother, haunted by the death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but she soon discovers an evil presence all around her – Overall: Scary & well acted horror films are quite a rarity these days, sadly we live in a movie world of endless remakes that only a quarter of which are decent and the rest once watched sit gathering dust amongst our film collection’s SO as you can imagine when I came across this film, a horror that felt so personal, so dark and one that left the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention I DECIDED that I should shout the praise to all and sundry, to whomever would listen and most of all to the those who love a good old fashioned scare !! The Babadook starts with a thump, within its first 15mins I was already invested in its characters, I felt for Samuel we’ve all been there scared of the demons in our closet or under our bed – and I sympathized with Amelia Samuel’s mum, tortured by her loss, fighting to keep her own sanity and trying to bring up her son in a somewhat normal existence. Being a big fan of the horror genre and not easily scared by things that go bump in the night I was surprised by how haunting an effect Jennifer Kent’s film-making debut had on me, the story also written by Kent is almost like a ghost story of yesteryear, the majority of which is set inside a creepy house in the suburbs that adds to the movies scare, giving you the sense of confinement, suffocating you, a movie cabin fever that just keeps building, and building and building – of course along with its terrific story, it’s effective Kubrick-esque camerawork & an eerie score that at times would make your heart beat twice as quick – filmmaker Jennifer Kent also had to find an actress that would help bring her creation to life, become this broken women, this mum who would do unspeakable things and in Aussie Essie Davis she found exactly that, if I tell you that Essie Davis delivers the best horror performance for an actress since Shelley Duvall went visiting the Overlook in Kubrick’s The Shining then you know that this performance and this movie is something very special – Essie captures Amelia’s vulnerability, she’s a mother unhinged, you can almost feel her pain & you witness her terror as things really do go bump in the night. The Babadook is a nail biting, pillow hiding, lights on kinda horror that’s very reminiscent of early Polanski with splashes of Hitchcock, Kubrick and the imagination of Roald Dahl thrown in – the use of the illustrated book throughout is a master stroke, it’s images are effective and its words within pretty scary – there are some spoiler scenes throughout the movie that pull at the heart strings and these are only possible due to Kent’s groundwork in building characters you truly care for – I can’t remember many filmmakers making their horror movie debut with such gusto but Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook is up there with the very best of them ! This is one subtle, chilling horror that deserves your attention – just make sure you lock all the doors first….