Remember being frightened as a kid of monsters under the bed or the boogeyman?
Well The Babadook is so much scarier than that!
Brilliantly executed in a stark, genuinely creepy way, this old-school psychological horror movie about a widow and her difficult relationship with her troubled son reminded me of Tim Burton, the Exorcist and the Haunting (1963) all at once, but in it’s own right, is a seriously twisted, magical house of horrors, relying mostly on our own imagination instead of the usual obvious gory stuff we get these days. It seemed to draw me in while I was watching, making me feel the way the characters felt and there wasn’t a neatly tied resolution at the end, ambiguity being the central theme. I love proper horror movies like this, they never go out of style (although drinking a cup of tea while watching probably not a good idea, not to mention I found it hard to turn the lights off and go to sleep that night!).
As brilliantly acted and executed as this film is, unfortunately it didn’t go well on Australian release, shameful really but has been raved about in the US and other countries, thanks to Sundance screening, and has a sort of cult appeal now. Can’t tell if either annoying cultural cringe or not enough publicity, as it was apparently only shown in 13 local cinemas, (or maybe it’s a bit of both). We make awesome movies here; I love hearing Aussie accents and seeing familiar places in our movies, we have our own unique culture and talents which should be celebrated more.
Maybe the fact that this movie now has the American stamp of approval will give it more local credibility, I don’t know. You could say this movie is one of Australia’s best kept secrets or you could say a it’s a bloody shame as it’s the best horror to come along in a while.
Promotional images belong to the movie: The Babadook, Australia, 2014, Smoking Gun Productions