The Babadook (2014)

Not Bad Guy

Tagline: If it’s in a word. Or it’s in a look. You can’t get rid of … The Babadook

Year: 2014          Runtime: 93 min

Director: Jennifer Kent

Writer: Jennifer Kent

Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall

My Expectations

A “can’t watch alone or with the lights off” horror film.

The Pay Off

A not very frightening horror film. Now while that might seem like a knock, it’s not. As it turns out The Babadook is a rich, multilayered psychological horror film. You know, the kind that Alfred Hitchcock made. The really good stuff. For a first film Jennifer Kent has a winner.

But…

(And there’s always a but.)

It falls short of masterpiece, which it so easily could have been, if it didn’t cheese out at the end with the big happy peace, love, good-happiness stuff. I’m thinking this has to be due to some producer or executive producer who was more concerned about it playing well in Peoria, or more specifically, will it make more money if it’s got a happy ending.

Attractions:

  • The acting is superlative. Particularly Noah Wiseman, who plays Samuel. For such a young actor he has some real chops. Not once did I think, “there’s an actor trying to [fill in the blank].” He’s going to be one to watch.
  • The visuals. AWE-some. I read somewhere that she didn’t use CGI. She used stop motion and puppetry.
  • The sound design was very creepy. It sets the mood superbly.
  • Then there’s the book itself. Someone is surely working on a real-life copy we can all own. When it comes out I’m all over it. I’m sure you will want a copy, too.

Trailer:

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