It’s not often that I enjoy a horror film. More often than not, they cross the boundary of terrifying to the banal streets of predictability. The Babadook, however, was a legitimately scary film.
Directed and penned by Jennifer Kent, this Australian horror featured at Sundance with positive reviews – and rightly so. It is a very intriguing film. It starts out with all the classics: a creepy old house, a mysterious book and a single mother (Essie Davis) and her hyperactive son Sam (Noah Wieseman) who has some seemingly unfounded, monster paranoia.
After a while, Amelia (the mother) begins to catch some glimpses of the monster known as Babadook herself, and that is when things gets weird. I won’t give too much away, but a dog gets murdered, 6-year-old Sam stabs Amelia in the leg and someone spews viscous black goo. If that’s not enough drama and shock value for you, then I don’t know what is.
For me, there were two main highlights of The Bababook. Firstly, the score was outstanding. As is the trend with many horror films at the moment, much of the scare factor in The Babadook comes from the suspense induced by the slasher-film-strings and the contrasting silences. Secondly, I thought the costuming was great. This is particularly true of the grisly monster Babadook, who sported an outfit similar to that of a black plague doctor, complete with a creepy beak face and some mean-looking talons. It is also pretty awesome in an oh-so-awkward way when Amelia is caught masturbating by her already terrified son, but I won’t give you any spoilers about that one.
My main complaint is the ending. I felt like Jennifer Kent just did not know how to end the film so conveniently spun out a happy ending, but is ineffective. It just felt very incomplete and unresolved.
Overall, The Babadook is worth a look, but just make sure you pee first. You will certainly be reluctant to make a trip down a dark hallway during the film.
The Babadook is in selected cinemas from May 22.