Monday, 3 November 2014

The Babadook

"The Babadook" (2014, Causeway Films, Cinetic Media/eOne Films International, Jennifer Kent) is the story of an unlucky family who become plagued by a nightmarish creature after reading from a mysterious, creepy children's storybook.

Amelia (Essie Davis) is a woman who has had a tough hand in life; the early death of her husband has been something that she has struggled to cope with. Couple that with a her imaginative but unruly, undisciplined child, Sam (Noah Wiseman), and you have a pretty sad tale.

A slow burning and depressing tale, the film is more about feeling and presence than scares and I found that the lack of action did become a bit monotonous after a while. However, the scenes with the creepy shadow monster are really quite chilling and atmospheric and there is a horrible reality of the fear of bad parenting and the black pit of grief in there too.

The acting is great. The characters feel realistic, if slightly unhinged, and there's even a few nice jumpy bits. I especially liked the styling of the story book which in itself is terrifying.

Mr. Babadook could be a terrifying monster, joining the infamous ranks of our other favourite boogeymen. Unfortunately, the slow, artsy style of the film did take away some of the pace of the story, even if it did make for an elegant looking end product.

A great debut piece, and a thoughtful take on a boogeyman story, but style overtook substance a little too much in my view.

[Image: Causeway Films]