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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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1:48AM on 04/19/2015
I really don't see all the love for this movie. I thought it was mediocre for most of the run time and just got worse at the end
I really don't see all the love for this movie. I thought it was mediocre for most of the run time and just got worse at the end
Your Reply:



+0
10:50AM on 12/06/2014

good review

All i can say is creepy, Essie Davis needs to be up for an oscar for this performance she was fucking crazy it was great, the lil boy on the other hand I myself wanted to kill this kid he was just so annoying but that was the role he was suppose to play so i really have to give it to the kid good job on his part too, If we can get more horror in this direction of creepiness an storytelling that would be awesome.
All i can say is creepy, Essie Davis needs to be up for an oscar for this performance she was fucking crazy it was great, the lil boy on the other hand I myself wanted to kill this kid he was just so annoying but that was the role he was suppose to play so i really have to give it to the kid good job on his part too, If we can get more horror in this direction of creepiness an storytelling that would be awesome.
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5:25AM on 12/06/2014

Very creepy, loved it!

*SPOILER WARNING* What I interpreted the ending to be saying was that The Babadook was the husband/fathers lost spirit trying to reconnect to his family. Just as mentally damaged as the mother and son he sees thier deaths as being the only way they can be together again. Once she sees whats underneath Mr. Babadook and sees her husband she decides to keep him in the basement, hoping to calm him enough for the day she can allow father and son to meet. Just my opinion but I love it when a movie
*SPOILER WARNING* What I interpreted the ending to be saying was that The Babadook was the husband/fathers lost spirit trying to reconnect to his family. Just as mentally damaged as the mother and son he sees thier deaths as being the only way they can be together again. Once she sees whats underneath Mr. Babadook and sees her husband she decides to keep him in the basement, hoping to calm him enough for the day she can allow father and son to meet. Just my opinion but I love it when a movie leaves itself open to various interpretations.
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+1
7:55PM on 12/02/2014

Loved loved loved this review.

WARNING: best not read my comments unless you've seen the movie.

SPOILERISH BELOW.
XXXX

Nodding my head the entire time I read your review and "the dramatic tension here was palpable" can't be described better! Big word or not - it works and man was it ever. I was a wreck from very early on. This is easily the scariest movie I've ever seen, and as much as the kid annoyed the hell out of me too, there were times my heart broke for him ( in the second half when he was calmer, i.e.,
WARNING: best not read my comments unless you've seen the movie.

SPOILERISH BELOW.
XXXX

Nodding my head the entire time I read your review and "the dramatic tension here was palpable" can't be described better! Big word or not - it works and man was it ever. I was a wreck from very early on. This is easily the scariest movie I've ever seen, and as much as the kid annoyed the hell out of me too, there were times my heart broke for him ( in the second half when he was calmer, i.e., drugged), when he must have felt so very all alone between the Babadook and his own mother scaring the crap out of him. However, my heart broke for her more than anyone and I wanted to deck her sister once or twice for being such in insensitive, unhelpful wench.

There were some scenes that literally made my skin crawl and especially since I was already on edge. The acting was incredible, and I found myself relating to both the kid and the mother at times. I started to feel like I might throw up about the time she was down in the basement hugging who she thought was her husband. I just knew it wasn't going to be a good thing and I was already so freaked out by then.

Yeah, the ending wasn't what I'd have preferred either. Honestly to tell you the truth I'd have been happiest if it ended one of the times she was just hugging her son towards the end there and they seemed to be back to normal. If credits would have rolled I'd have been good with it and not cared if it was a cop out.

What a fantastic movie. I loved it!
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10:26PM on 12/02/2014
Yeah, if the movie ended like you said, it would be perfect. But the way it ends confused me a bit. Overall, it's a really great horror movie.
Yeah, if the movie ended like you said, it would be perfect. But the way it ends confused me a bit. Overall, it's a really great horror movie.
11:08PM on 12/02/2014
SPOILERS:
-Me too, I\'m completely confused on the ending. I\'m okay with it because I know that as long as she apparently feeds it they\'ll be okay? I\'m really not sure. I\'m kind of pretending that ending doesn\'t exist tbh.
SPOILERS:
-Me too, I\'m completely confused on the ending. I\'m okay with it because I know that as long as she apparently feeds it they\'ll be okay? I\'m really not sure. I\'m kind of pretending that ending doesn\'t exist tbh.
2:51AM on 12/03/2014
**SPOILER ALERT** **SPOILER ALERT**
Yeah, as long as she keeps feeding the Babadook, both her and her kid would be okay. This is where I'm confused: so who exactly does the Babadook has power over - the kid or the mother? If it ended like you said, there wouldn't be this confusion LOL !
**SPOILER ALERT** **SPOILER ALERT**
Yeah, as long as she keeps feeding the Babadook, both her and her kid would be okay. This is where I'm confused: so who exactly does the Babadook has power over - the kid or the mother? If it ended like you said, there wouldn't be this confusion LOL !
1:40PM on 12/03/2014
LOL exactly! I wonder if they\'re leaving room for a sequel? That\'s the only thing that makes sense to me regarding the ending. I\'m going to re-watch it. I know I missed a few things I need to catch (closing my eyes and covering my ears and all). Maybe there\'s clues we all missed with the first viewing? This ending seems to be a common complaint. Still a fantastic film regardless.
LOL exactly! I wonder if they\'re leaving room for a sequel? That\'s the only thing that makes sense to me regarding the ending. I\'m going to re-watch it. I know I missed a few things I need to catch (closing my eyes and covering my ears and all). Maybe there\'s clues we all missed with the first viewing? This ending seems to be a common complaint. Still a fantastic film regardless.
11:08AM on 12/09/2014
*SPOILERS INBOUND*

I think if you take the ending from a literal standpoint and follow the stance that there was indeed an actual monster haunting the mother and son the whole movie, then yes it is a bit underwhelming. I personally interpreted it as something more metaphorical and that it was simply someone finding their own way of coping through the loss of a loved one. It\'s a dark place I\'m sure a lot of people have to experience in their lives and it\'s not necessarily something that
*SPOILERS INBOUND*

I think if you take the ending from a literal standpoint and follow the stance that there was indeed an actual monster haunting the mother and son the whole movie, then yes it is a bit underwhelming. I personally interpreted it as something more metaphorical and that it was simply someone finding their own way of coping through the loss of a loved one. It\'s a dark place I\'m sure a lot of people have to experience in their lives and it\'s not necessarily something that just goes away... the best you can do sometimes is just control it instead of allowing it to control you and your life.

I\'m glad you liked the movie, Arrow. It\'s definitely one of my favorite films of the year, period. There\'s so many layers to this movie and I love when a film makes you think like this one does. Hell, watching it a second time I picked up on a bunch of things that completely went over my head the first time-- namely the hints that not only did Amelia make the book herself (she mentions at one point she wrote children\'s books), but that it\'s very possible that instead of burning the book she actually finished it herself (when she goes to the police and her hands are all black... maybe from pastels?). Very awesome stuff.
12:58PM on 12/02/2014

Great to hear you dug it so much...

I too have believed the hype only to be disappointed (The Conjuring a little bit) so I'm glad that the Babadook seems to actually live up to it. Can't wait to check it out!

BTW, this was great! "I had to suck my own dick backwards to finally get to see."
I too have believed the hype only to be disappointed (The Conjuring a little bit) so I'm glad that the Babadook seems to actually live up to it. Can't wait to check it out!

BTW, this was great! "I had to suck my own dick backwards to finally get to see."
Your Reply:



9:26AM on 12/02/2014
**SPOILER ALERT** **SPOILER ALERT**
I really like this movie. It really messed with your head. The lead actress and the kid actor were really good, especially the kid. The movie scared the crap out of me when the mother Transformed, so to speak. However, I'm a bit confused with the ending but overall this is a fresh breath of air for horror movies.
**SPOILER ALERT** **SPOILER ALERT**
I really like this movie. It really messed with your head. The lead actress and the kid actor were really good, especially the kid. The movie scared the crap out of me when the mother Transformed, so to speak. However, I'm a bit confused with the ending but overall this is a fresh breath of air for horror movies.
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