I am a self confessed scaredy cat but I couldn't resist checking out The Babadook, Jennifer Kent's debut film that none other than William Friedkin, director of The Excoricst (a movie I am too scared to watch!) called one of the scariest movies he'd seen. Psychological horror, a creepy kid and a top hatted demon with a fun name? I'm in!
Only what you imagine may not be exactly what happens. Jennifer Kent uses sounds and the skill of her actors to great effect in showing us Mr. Babadook. Many scenes we don't even see or hear anything, but the actors show us that they think something is there. It was evident that her budget was very small but she was incredibly inventive in thinking of ways to creep out the viewer. I mean, she basically made a red covered book a terrifying object that I don't want anywhere near me! At times we aren't sure if the Babadook is real or fake or in the house or in one or more of the characters minds but the tone is so consistent throughout and the movie veers from psychological to supernatural horror and back again seamlessly.
|Why do horror movies always have adorable pets?|
Perhaps the most interesting part of the film is the way she switches up the viewers perception of the characters. At first, you can't help but sympathize with Amelia and almost hate Sam. Noah Wiseman is wonderful in this role, irritating and grating at first but later in the film we see his true love for his mom and his compassion shine through. Without spoiling much I will say that Essie Davis' performance is a true wonder. She goes from hero to villain to hero without missing a beat and takes you with her on Amelia's journey into madness.
I don't know if in the end The Babadook ended up scaring me as much as I was worried it would. But more importantly than being scared is being engrossed and intrigued by a film and The Babadook definitely did both. But don't be bringing me any kids story books anytime soon.