The Babadook (2014) Review

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The Babadook (2014)

Directed by Jennifer Kent

Starring:
Essie Davis
Noah Wiseman
Daniel Henshall
Hayley McElhinney
Barbara West
Ben Winspear

Running time: 94 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
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.

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My Opinion:

Last year I was pretty positive in my review of The Conjuring mostly, I think, because I was SO desperate for a good horror movie to ever actually be made again and that one was about the closest we’ve had to a decent American horror movie in years. It wasn’t perfect but at least it was almost a return to the good ‘ol days of horror movies that didn’t rely solely on cheap jump scares and/or excessive gore. Well, The Babadook is more the sort of horror movie I’ve desperately waited years for. It’s an Australian film so it’s still “foreign” which means that, once again, only foreign countries seem capable of making decent horror films these days. Time to catch up, America! You can do better than Paranormal Activity 12 & inferior remakes of foreign horror films.

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I know The Babadook won’t appeal to the more casual cinemagoer but I highly recommend it to those looking for a good old-fashioned psychological horror. The acting in this is FANTASTIC. Essie Davis is especially great as the mother and you can really feel her pure exhaustion in being a single mother dealing with a six-year-old boy who seems to have some deep psychological issues and is starting to show signs of violent behavior. Noah Wiseman as the boy is also very good, especially considering that it appears this is the only thing he’s really been in. He has a great look and can be terrifying one second and so adorably sweet the next. These two really are brilliant and help to make this such a good film.

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As for the story itself, it’s fairly straightforward stuff and not necessarily something we’ve never ever seen before. However, it’s how a story is presented that can make or break a horror movie. As I mentioned above, this isn’t one of those movies that relies on cheap jump scares and there’s also no gore (a bit of violence and blood, as to be expected, but nothing over the top). Some of the things that happen are pretty disturbing, especially as such a young child is involved. There’s nothing “silly” here – I saw this in a fairly full cinema and there were none of the usual laughs you hear when you watch things like Insidious and something that’s meant to be scary happens but it just ends up looking ridiculous. The slowly building tension is quite intense and the underlying theme is genuinely terrifying. I’m being quite vague as I don’t want to spoil this in any way for those who like the sound of this one. This is psychological terror. It HAS been done before but this film does it all in a very effective way.

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I can’t end this without making mention of the BOOK in this movie. If you’ve read anything about the movie or watched the trailer (which I’m going to include at the end of this review as the film still isn’t that widely known), you’ll know that the Mister Babadook character comes from a children’s book the mother reads to the son. This book is bloody horrifying! I think there may be an actual book made of it?? I’m not sure but, if there is, it will NOT be on my Christmas list. My only complaint when it comes to this film is that I wish we’d seen even more of the book. Or… Maybe not…

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Summary:

THIS is a good psychological horror film. It’s disturbing and terrifying and makes you think instead of jump. I wouldn’t say it’s the scariest horror movie I’ve seen but it’s certainly one that will stay there in the back of your mind and you’ll think about it every now & then as you’re drifting off to sleep and worrying about the things in life that scare you. I do think this is one that older viewers will probably appreciate more than the young, especially those who are parents as it will play on their fears more than anyone else’s. And, once again, I have to say that the two main actors are magnificent – it was wonderful seeing such quality acting in a “horror” movie.

My Rating: 8/10

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Official UK trailer:

About that book – Apparently they WILL be releasing it. I’ve just received the below tweets from The Babadook. Nooooooo!!!!!!

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70 thoughts on “The Babadook (2014) Review

  1. LOL! They have a great sense of humour, love it!

    Now, as for this movie, I have been hearing about it for AGES. I am so amped to see it, and your glowing review just makes me want that some more!!!

    • Hehe! I know – I read a bunch of their other tweets and they’re hilarious! I hope you do get to see this one – looks like the UK is one of the few places to get a full cinema release. Even the US doesn’t have it yet and I think it’s going straight to video on demand there. :-/ I’d love to know what you think of it! πŸ™‚

      • Hahahaha, I will definitely go read some more.

        Meh, so typical of some movies to not get a theatre release! :/ This looks really good though. I will keep you posted as soon as I come across it.

      • I just looked and don’t see a release date for you at the moment. 😦 It’s going straight to video on demand end of November in the US. (And I still can’t watch Snowpiercer! Lol)

  2. Great review!!! I can’t wait to watch it. I was excited anyway but reading what you’ve written just strengthens my belief I will find this very scary! Yay!!! (though I won’t be cheering when I’m laying in bed with the light on, shivering and terrified because I can’t sleep!!)

    Nice to see a movie that ACTUALLY impacts though! It’s proof they can still frighten us!!

    And I won’t get you that book for Christmas, promise! πŸ™‚

    • I can’t wait for you to see this! I have to say it’s not one that made me unable to sleep or anything like that but I don’t scare TOO easily… Lol – Thank you! I do NOT want that bloody book for Christmas!!! πŸ˜‰

      • I will watch it next week!!!! Me and my boyfriend have the week off work to do a few fun things and stuff, The Babadook is top of my list πŸ™‚

        Unfortunately I DO scare easily, I get the impression this will cause at least one sleepless night. Hopefully anyway πŸ™‚

        Those tweets were great!!!

      • I know! Right?! πŸ™‚ Yay! I’m glad you liked it. Proper old school psychological stuff. Too bad you just know it’ll make nowhere the amount that Annabelle will! Great performances, huh? Can’t wait to read your review. πŸ™‚

      • Love it. So refreshing to see the genre get the shot in the arm it so desperately needs.

        Hopefully the box office performance will match the quality of the film and encourage the studios to make intelligent horror films. It can be done!

        And yes, amazing performances that wouldn’t be out of place in a straight up drama, so in horror terms they’re off the chart. I was really impressed.

        Plus how scary is that book? [Shudder]

        I’ve written and scheduled my post for tomorrow a.m. : )

  3. I’ve read lots praise for this which is really uplifting – the trailer caught my attention when I was at the cinema last week, which isn’t normally something that happens with horror films, so that’s good. The genre needs a bit of a kick. Looking forward to seeing it! Great review!

    Adam.

    • Thanks! πŸ™‚ Totally agree – the horror genre needs a kick in the arse. Yeah – I’m just bored when I see horror trailers. They showed that Ouija trailer before this film. YAWN. Looks like the same old crap… Would love to know what you think of this one if you see it. πŸ™‚

    • Quite possibly, yes. Lol! I’d still recommend this to you, though, Abbi. I think you’d appreciate it as it’s not really your typical sort of current horror movie. And the acting is exceptional.

    • Yep! Okay – I admit I’ve not seen those two but they look like the same old horror movies we see all the time. The Babadook is really good – it’s a shame stuff like this goes almost unnoticed. I hope you see it! πŸ™‚

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  5. UGH. Well, you already know how much I want to see this damn thing. Sounds really, really good!! And how cool that The Babadook responded to your tweet!! Let me know if that book shows up…

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    • Thanks! πŸ™‚ Have you done a lot of reviews recently? I took a break then fell very behind on blogs again! Ha – yeah, those tweets were awesome. I read a bunch of their other tweets & they were very funny. The person(s) running it has a great sense of humor. This was very refreshing as horror films have gotten SO bad these days. I’ve pretty much given up on modern horror for the most part.

      • I know how you feel – work & life in general are way too hectic at the moment and I rarely get a chance to read blogs. 😦 Thanks for stopping by anytime you can! I’m trying to do the same when I get a spare few minutes and trying to just not stress about it. πŸ™‚

  8. Yes! This review of yours pretty much agrees with everything I myself agree with and love about this film! I was so thrilled to finally be able to see it, as I live in the States and must suffer from waiting for films sometimes, and was glad I stumbled upon it months ago. It lived up to every expectation I had, which is hard to do.

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  15. Reblogged this on Cinema Parrot Disco and commented:

    Happy Halloween tomorrow, everyone! πŸ™‚

    As I said earlier in the week, I had family visiting so only managed to write a few new posts for this week. Today I figured I’d just reblog my review of my absolute favorite horror film of, oh, probably the last ten years? (Since the Dawn Of The Dead remake was 11 years ago – nothing else since the year 2000 beats that one. Love it!). So here’s my review of the fantastic psychological horror film The Babadook…

    • I know! It’s rare for an Australian film to do so well. It certainly kicks the ass of modern American horror films! πŸ™‚ A lot of people don’t like the end but I LOVED it. Fit perfectly with what the story was actually about. πŸ™‚

      • Yeah there many ways I have seen it interpreted, I didn’t hate it, but I prefer the ending to Rosemary’s baby, which is a close cousin to The Babadook

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