The Babadook


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman in The Babadook
"Jennifer Kent's film creates something original, even frightening" | Photo: Matt Nettheim

Children are scared of the night. Why? It's only the day with its eyes shut.

"There's nothing under the bed," Mama says."Monsters are dream creatures that cannot breathe in the wake up world."

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The Babadook knows that's not true.

"The Babadook is a story," Mama says. "It's a pop up book. It's fun!"

Who's laughing?

Genre movies can reach a point where everything has been done before. There are no surprises. Only excesses.

Jennifer Kent's film bucks the trend and creates something original, even frightening.

Amelia (Essie Davis) is a single mother. Her husband was killed in a car crash on the day she gave birth to Sam (Noah Wiseman) six years ago. He is a difficult child, behaving at times like the Devil's spawn, and Amelia has to drug him with tranquilisers to calm him down.

Sam blames The Babadook, a black-cloaked terror figure from the book.

His obsession becomes her possession and the presence of this dark spirit alters their perception, invoking a barrier of fear.

The performances, especially the extraordinary Noah Wiseman, are pin prick perfect. Kent has the confidence to ignore horror cliches and find a more expressive way to freeze your blood.

Reviewed on: 30 Sep 2014
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A character in a pop up book haunts the nightscape of a six-year-old boy
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Director: Jennifer Kent

Writer: Jennifer Kent

Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Tim Purcell, Benjamin Winspear, Hayley McElhinney, Daniel Henshall

Year: 2014

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Australia

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