Babadook -when good pop-up books go bad

Posted: February 1, 2015 in FILM REVIEWS/COMMENTS
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This review may contain spoilers

A mother, after the death of her husband has to deal with her son’s fear of a monster that she finds in a mysterious pop-up book.

With a mix of modern horror effects, genuine tension writer/ director Jennifer Kent offers old school thrills and chills in Babadook. The small core cast are exceptional. Its grey palette naturalistic setting captured by Radek Ladczuk’s cinematography coupled with music by Jed Kurzel, eerie sound and special effects add to the mix of creepiness.

It’s pacing are like the classic horror films, taking a leaf from The Shining as well as Nosferatu to name a few. It’s also reminiscent of the more recent Saint Ange/House of Voices, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh, Let The Right One In, Innkeepers and Woman in Black with Mister Badadook being kept in the shadows for the first third of the film.

The closing act is not a grounded as the psychological horror that come prior, mirroring the short comings of Deliver Us from Evil with its arguably over blown closing act. That said, this modest budget Australian horror delivers chills down the spine and at times disturbing scenes of borderline physical and mental abuse.

Actress Essie Davis is exceptional as troubled Amelia and her difficult son Samuel played by Noah Wiseman is wonderfully cast. To his credit he is one of the few non annoying child actors to grace a horror drama.

It’s not just about the hidden monsters that lurk in the dark and in your mind. There’s many metaphors and symbolism lurking beneath. It’s themes are hard hitting and touching; prescription drug abuse, school intervention, grieving, the plight of single parenting, breaking children bonds and help from family and professionals.

As evil takes a foothold and the lines of reality are blurred, Kent delivers the the tension and nightmares you’d expect, its well acted, refreshingly without a cliché teen in sight. Old school shocks rejuvenated, recommend.

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