Written and directed by Jennifer Kent, The Babadook centres on a single mother, Amelia (Essie Davis), who, plagued by the violent death of her husband, struggles to discipline her ‘out of control’ six-year-old, Samuel (Noah Wiseman). With his fear that there’s a monster lurking in the house, after a disturbing storybook called ‘The Babadook’ turns up mysteriously, Sam’s hallucinations spiral out of control. But Amelia soon discovers a sinister presence all around her, and it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about may be real.
For a horror film about a monster under the bed, The Babadook is a surprisingly original horror film. The suspense is in all the right places, creating a chilling atmosphere through creepy scares but also through the unsettling psychological human struggles that are explored.
The performances are really great – although I did find the young boy really annoying – but the focus on the mother-son relationship is what made the story work.
I was really impressed, that is, until the very end, when the film didn’t conclude itself well at all. There were many things that I wanted answers to, but I was left unsatisfied. It’s easily the best horror film of 2014, but I just needed some of the story lines tying up.
Nevertheless, it did give me nightmares, and I had to sleep with the light on so that I knew what was lurking in the shadows. It’s not often that a horror film scares me these days, so The Babadook did well to be authentic in story, delivery, and cheap jump scares.
The Babadook is set to be released on DVD on 16th February.