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The Babadook Review: great psychological horror mired by its conclusion

Film: The Babadook – great psychological horror mired by its conclusion

Jennifer Kent makes a fantastic feature film directorial debut with her haunting Aussie tale that terrifies with reality and psychology as opposed to Hollywood’s rehashed gore fest nonsense.

Not being an aficionado of horror, it is often up to my horrible friends to force me into a seat to watch horror. And after a long and arduous day we sat down to watch The Babadook, not The Badabook, as I mistakenly call it many times.

To many the name may put them off the film as a whole. But believe me when I say this, after you watch The Babadook, not only will you be terrified of the name but you will look over your shoulder wondering if its following you. Don’t let it in.

It can be difficult, when directing and writing horror, to resort to sudden cuts, noises and jumps for cheap scares and jarring changes. Kent does not stoop so low. Instead she uses amazing imagery to, almost like South Korean horrors, to paint a transition from the sane and mundane to the extremely manic and possessed.

And the finished product looks amazing. It is not often the case when analysing horrors that you adore the cinematography and direction. But everything from the set, to the use of shadows and transition from night and day was fresh, refreshing and most importantly entertaining to watch.

Essie Davis gives an amazing performance as a mother clouded by the death of her loving husband and clouded by the social stigma that is her son Samuel – who, incidentally, is also immersive and uncanny due to newcomer Noah Wiseman.

Unfortunately, and this seems to be a problem open to the horror genre as opposed to one contained to The Babadook alone, the conclusion is somewhat laughable.

The Babadook may be hidden in the shadows of big American horror releases like Annabelle or the 15th Paranormal Activity but make no mistake this is the best horror of 2014. It will terrify you with your own silence and your own inhibitions and much more all whilst encompassing great leads under the tutelage of a surprisingly mature Jennifer Kent.

Score – B


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