“If it’s in a word or in a look, You can’t get rid of a Babadook.”
With sequels, prequels, re-boots and possessed doll spin-offs colouring the contemporary cinematic landscape of late, it’s a breath of genuinely fresh albeit icy-cold air to sit through this gem.
A widowed mum ( a fantastic Essie Davis- drained and pained throughout) makes the wrong choice in supremely disturbing pop-up book for bedtime reading for her estranged and creepy as all hell son( Noah Wiseman in an early bid for the “Best Performance In A Helmet-Head and Top-Hat” Oscar) and then the true creeping dread begins. With nods to the horror films and ghost stories of olde, is it an allegory of mourning? Supernatural projection via emotional isolation? No simple answers ring true. A history of fear? It’s never derivative, more like Director Jennifer Kent opted for a scattering of visual breadcrumbs left as clues as to Her influences.
Beautifully crafted scares and ambiguous imagery will keep plenty of conversations fuelled post cinema outing, to go into more detail would do a disservice to what is easily one of the better films of it’s ilk in recent memory.
An allegorical psychological horror then? One that doesn’t forget where it’s roots lie and unsettles long after the credits roll? Does it for me. Beats that possessed doll into a cocked (top)hat too.
Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC. Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.