My wife is only slightly obsessed with Halloween, so our house has been decorated since the beginning of September. Naturally when we were looking for something to watch and she saw The Babadook, she didn’t want to hear any other suggestions. I have had it on my queue for a while as well, so without further rambling …
I would give it 8 “Baba DOOK! DOOK! DOOK!”s out of 10.
FOR THE UNINITIATED
The story centers around a single mother Amelia (Essie Davis) with her troubled child Samuel (Noah Wiseman). Samuel is continually plagued with nightmares of monsters which keeps him up and in turn his mother. One night after long day of disciplinary issues, he finds an odd book called Mister Babadook that his mother reads … until it takes a dark turn. The book keeps turning up, Samuel keeps mentioning the Babadook, and Amelia ends up going slightly crazy. Soon she realizes it is real and they must find a way to get rid of it.
The tension built through the movie is amazing. What Amelia is going through is empathetic since she can’t get enough sleep, get a handle on her troubled child, and then strange noises start to seem more coincidental. As Amelia gets less sleep and Samuel gets more irritating, the likelihood of something happening becomes higher. His shrill screaming, the music, and editing keep you on the edge of your seat. Not only that, but the book acts as a road map pointing out what is going to happen. So as things fall into place the sense of dread continues to loom over the family.
There wasn’t anything I can think of that could be changed. The ending seemed sudden and weird, but knowing the Babadook is supposed to be symbolic of depression then it makes a lot more sense.
As someone who doesn’t generally like horror movies since they end up not very original, rely on jump scares, or too gory … I would strongly recommend The Babadook since it avoids all those issues. Watch it with the lights off at night for full effect as with any good horror movie. You won’t need to watch it near Halloween, but since it is rapidly approaching you might as well go ahead and watch it now on Netflix.
One of my favorite horror / suspense movies is Saw. If you somehow never saw Saw, do yourself a favor and watch it. It has one of the more popular twists in recent movie history and almost revived Cary Elwes’ career. Similar to The Babadook, it doesn’t rely on jump scares, gore, or clichés to be a quality movie. Sadly the multiple sequels fell victim to all three issues as a way to make a quick dollar.