The Screen Room
The Babadook (2014)
I’ve had a mental list of horror movies I wanted to post about this week but since I only like to post one film review per day I had to whittle it down to just seven. ☹️
I’ve always known which two I wanted to end on but unfortunately I had eight, so I had to make a tough decision as to which one I dropped. This one was the victor.
The Babadook (2014)
I watched this last night for only the second time. The first time I watched it was a year or so after its release so my memory of it was a bit hazy.
One thing I did remember about it though is how friggin creepy it is! 😳
If you haven’t seen it, it’s an Australian psychological horror starring Essie Davis (Game of Thrones) and the young Noah Wiseman in his only major acting role to date.
The movie is based on the short film “Monster” from the same writer and director, Jennifer Kent.
This is what it’s about according to the internet:
A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son's fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.
I love a good horror movie but few really scare me these days. Most of them rely too heavily on “jump scares” which I think is a lazy method of scaring an audience. Rarely do I watch one that genuinely sends a shiver up my spine. This is one of the few that does. Having said that, this is far more than just a horror film.
Now, I’m not really big on films having “messages”. I know that there are issues that need addressing and I know that filmmakers have a platform from which they can voice their views and opinions, but call me ignorant, I like films for the escapism. If I want to know about the latest mass shooting or environmental crisis I’ll turn on any one of a hundred news channels to get the info. This film however has a message (or at least that’s how I interpret it) that is both interesting and impactful.
Essentially The Babadook is a horror movie about a creepy book that shows up in a house. The character from the book (the Babadook) starts to appear in the house and terrorise a young boy and his mother.
The film has a very depressing and oppressive tone. The colours are all washed out and everything in the house has a grey, dark and dingy look to it.
My interpretation (and I don’t think I noticed the first time round) is that the Babadook represents/is a metaphor for the grief and depression the mother is dealing with after losing her husband seven years earlier.
Whether that was the intention I’m not 100% sure but it certainly fits, and if so, it’s very cleverly done. Either way this is well worth a watch if you want more from a horror film than just the occasional “BOO!!” 😵
Essie Davis who plays the boy’s mum is absolutely brilliant and convincingly conveys the sadness, fear and desperation she’s feeling throughout the movie.
I will just say, the kid in this is extremely irritating for the first half of the film. It’s all part of the story though and when you take that into account you realise what a good little actor he is. Still, I can imagine some more casual viewers switching off before the film really gets going and that would be a shame.
If you like your psychological horrors with a bit of mystery and the ability to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, you should check out The Babadook.
“If it’s in a word or it’s in a book, you can’t get rid of the Babadook”
Seen it? What do you think? 🤔