At their best, horror films have the power to manifest the dark corners of the psyche. The Babadook aspires to such great heights and the figure of the storybook demon seems to offer a portal into a woman's troubled relations with her past and her equally troubled son. The way the drama plays out wasn't wholly satisfying for me and the resolution falls short of answering the interesting questions raised.
The spooky three-storey house, the monster, bad premonitions, the child that sees all and the mother who denies all, suppressed issues from the past, the cellar... You can’t get more traditional with horror than Babadook, but that doesn’t mean you have to be dull, dumb and predictable. You just need to transform the horror of us being mortal into a concrete menace. And to remember that the monsters are in us.
This is the work of a genious. How the perspective slowly changes from the mother to the son. How the horror is being used to tell the story of grief and depression as something that indeed strikes you, inhabits you, takes over you. A deeply moving and satisfying film. Scary, unpleasant; brilliant.
Without a doubt an uncomfortable film to watch, particularly with this genre of horror. The themes insomna and mental illness are rarely explored this way and The Babadook uses them very effectively to build a unnerving tone. The escalating instability and emotional investment we have with the characters is absolutely perfect, as were actors - Davis was outstanding.
3.5, Admittedly, took me a second viewing to get a better understanding of what people so highly regarded within the film. An excellent treatment of grief, single motherhood, and parental guilt and trauma it is, with thoughtful and compelling performances, set design, and cinematography. That being said, the kid made me want to bash my head into a wall, and while that's part of the drama, it did sour my reception.
Made with some style, and an understanding of deep deep depression, The Babadook nevertheless suffers from the varying quality of the lead performances, the simplistic nature of it all, and the fact that it ends on a note of unnecessary chicanery that, to me, undermines much of what came along beforehand. I am very much in the minority here though, and many others absolutely love it.
For me one of the best horror films of the last years: the Babadook as metaphor for the unresolved fears in one’s life. The effectiveness lies in the simplicity of story and narration, and the possibility that everything may be delusional, resulting from the trauma which determines the relationship between mother and son. Furthermore, cinematography (e.g. light, shadows and colors) and sound design are brillant.
As someone who grew up obsessed with The Exorcist and the possibility of being possesed, my expectations were really high when William Friedkin said "The Babadook" was the most terrifying film he had seen. Not sure if it was the scariest, but it definitely was the most brilliant horror movie I've seen in a while. Jennifer Kent made the genre feel classic -omfg so many references- and anew at the same time.
Not the horror I recalled. Kent's talent is as a visual storyteller, and the set and production design really convey adult fairytale while concealing any limitations in budget. It's a fairly extreme metaphor that doesn't integrate its nightmare as successfully. We helped the Babadook come out, I wish he had done so more in the film.
Some of it seemed unintentionally funny, but that might be my fault (like when she jumps on the door frame to kick the door through, it just looked slapstick). That ruined pretty much any aspect of tension or fear that it set up so it was never as scary as it could've been, but the general story, world building and the commitment of Essie Davis to any ridiculousness held it together into a fun horror.