When the director of The Exorcist describes a movie as the most terrifying film he has ever seen, you know you’re in for a ride. Despite that, The Babadook will surprise you with just how terrifying it can get.
The Babadook revolves around Amelia (Essie Davis), a single mother whose son stumbles upon a morbid pop-up book. This book features a character called Mr. Babadook, a slender creature who speaks in a raspy tone and grins like the Cheshire Cat. When her son starts fearing that a monster might be present in their home, Amelia realizes that he might just be right.
What makes The Babadook work is the fact that it builds up to a horror that may or may not exist. It creates a chilling melange of the monsters in our head and the monsters in our society. Thus, it falls somewhere between a psychological thriller and an all-out horror film. In some ways, it will remind viewers of Rosemary’s Baby, which also blurred the line between the two. Like Polanski‘s film, The Babadook focuses on the characters and not the scares. This keeps the characters from becoming the caricatures that we frequently see in horror films.
However, the best thing about The Babadook is its depiction of very real horrors. Take away the monster and you still have a chilling film about the challenges in Amelia’s life. Her strained relationship with her son, her struggle with motherhood and not knowing if it’s right for her, and the implications of the story are wonderfully portrayed by Essie Davis. The actress adds a dimension to her character that elevates the film to a whole new level. She makes you wonder if the monsters exist or if it’s just her mind playing tricks on her – a feeling that the audience can relate to once they’ve seen this film.
Though it puts a new spin on an old topic, The Babadook still has moments that remind you of other films. This is the only thing that keeps it from becoming truly great.
Why should you watch this film?
The Babadook is the film for people who looking for a stellar psychological horror film. The movie is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a truly chilling film that features brilliant acting and a remarkable background score. But if you’re easily frightened, you might want to skip this one!