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ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Babadook(2014)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Jennifer Kent

Starring:
Essie Davis/Amelia
Noah Wiseman/Samuel
Hayley McElhinney/Claire
Daniel Henshall/Robbie
9 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A widow (Essie Davis) has to deal with her grief, her (most likely ADD) problem child (Noah Wiseman) and as if that wasn’t enough to carry, she has to endure the freaking Babadook. What’s a Babadook? Fear incarnated with a top-hat that’s what!
THE LOWDOWN
Good old THE BABADOOK (which you can watch here), a Australian horror film that came with lots of hype tagged to its derriere and that for some reason I had to suck my own dick backwards to finally get to see. To say my expectations were high when I tapped this one would be an understatement; everybody and their Uncle’s mistresses haven’t stopped raving about it. So did it live up to the hype? For the most part… yup!

THE BABADOOK was a flick that worked me like a tool on two key levels; first as an engaging drama and then as a visceral horror film. The dramatic tension here was palpable (I just wanted to use a big word, go with it). We got a dame mourning the loss of her husband and she happens to have an “all over the place” kid that she somewhat resents and doesn’t care for too much. And I didn’t blame her! For the first hour or so that kid was basically intolerable; every 5 minutes I was yelling at the screen sending that kid into a 10 minute time-out. For Crom’s sakes did he get on my nerves! But that was the point. Mission accomplished! The lead gal’s inner conflict and her eventual emotional/psychological break down was gripping and moving to say the least. I felt so bad for her! Horror wise, I’m not sure what it was about this one, but some of the Babadook appearances literally sent chills up my spine. Was it its freaky “Krueger meets Tim Burton” look (dude’s a sharp dresser)? His knack of whispering “Ba-ba-dook-dook-dook “ left and right? His raspy/evil voice? It was all of it. That mofo gave me a bad case of the willies!

I am ashamed to report that I squinted my eyes like a bitch a couple of times in sheer fright while watching this one. Yes, I f*cking squinted! I can’t remember the last time that happened (Opening up my VISA bill aside of course) or if it ever happened with a movie! All that to yap; as good as a director first-timer Jennifer Kent was at putting out earnest, grounded and stirring drama; she was just as able with the ins and outs of horror devices. She was genius at building up tension, mounting up a thick aura of dread and then paying them off with an Ike Turner approved horror back-hand! Now none of it would have had any weight if the acting wasn’t top notch and I am happy to report that Kent could not have asked for a better cast. Essie Davis freaking dominated this movie, she carried it on her slim shoulders like a champ, hitting every single emotional note hardcore along the way. I read so much into her body language and I was able to make out her internal monologue… nuanced was the word! “Ownage” was the result! Noah Wiseman played his “fruit loop kid” role maybe a little too well as I wanted to ring his neck Homer Simpson style 10 minutes in. But hey, he was credible, natural and I bought that he was a brat with all kinds of issues. Add to all that a spooky score by Jed Kurzel, mucho suspenseful scenes, stellar production designs (that Babadook book was a thing of beautiful nightmares), a confident directing style by Kent and ominous cinematography by Radek Ladczuk and you get a heavy hitter, a well rounded bitter horror pill that sent me to the mat.

Any drawbacks? Not many. In case you haven’t noticed reading this garbage thus far; the kid here REALLY and I mean REALLY irritated me. DAMN! But I can’t fault the film for that, as that was the intent. He was an unbalanced kid, looking for love/attention from his momma and all bets were off as to HOW he was gonna achieve that. I have an all new appreciation and respect for mothers who have to put up with a child like this. I guess my biggest peeve though would have to be the ending. It kind of went the artsy-fartsy “metaphor way” which was fine, but it didn’t leave me fully satisfied as an audience member. I’m not sure how I would have liked the story to end… all I know is that this wasn’t it. But hey that’s just my personal tastes; you may foam all over the finale like Melissa McCarthy at a Donut shop on your end. It’s just how it goes.

On the whole though; THE BABADOOK came in like a runaway freight train. It was devastating as both a drama and a horror film. And the excellent performances just elevated the thing to an all new echelon of badass! Say it with me now: “"If it's in a word, or if it's in a look, you can't get rid of the Babadook!” No shit!
GORE
We get some blood, a stabbing and some brutal acts that I’ll keep in house. Not overtly gory but mean spirited enough.
T & A
We get a female masturbation scene, not really arousing for me (was too busy being on edge) but hey, it was there. Do with that what you will.
BOTTOM LINE
THE BABADOOK was definitely the scariest horror film I have seen this year. I can’t remember the last time a film made me feel so anxious to then whoop me stupid with a horrific apparition/turn of event. The flick was aces as a drama, punched hard as a horror film, sported a skillful visual style, was high on tension and gunned out outstanding performances. Granted the kid drove me nuts, again, I know that was the point, but come on man, give this jerk a break and the final frames took a direction that I didn’t get into 100% but overall though THE BABADOOK is a must-see for genre fans! A well rounded, mature and frightening horror flick!
BULL'S EYE
$30,071 of the fils budget was raised via Kickstarter.

Babadook is an anagram of "A bad book"

Look out Mario Bava's Black Sabbath (1963) playing on TV.
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