Title: The Babadook
Director: Jennifer Kent
Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, Ben Winspear
Runtime: 94 mins
The Babadook is a psychological horror film that shows how grief, longing, and depression can affect an individual’s way of thinking. It’s about a widow (Essie Davis) and her relationship with her son (Noah Wiseman), and a monster that slowly creeps into their lives. It is a good screenplay that deals with issues such as grief and depression and this film definitely does not fail me, a viewer, in delivering the message of the film.
This is Jennifer Kent’s debut film and it’s easy to say that this woman has a great future ahead of her. The Babadook is a beautifully directed film and amazingly scored as well. It did not rely to cheap jump scares (unlike almost all of Hollywood “horror” films do) and there were also no blood and the gore factor just so they can say that this film is indeed a horror film. This does not even need those elements to be a good film because thanks to Kent’s directing, this is arguably the scariest film of 2014.
With Kent’s direction and Jed Kurzel’s music, they created a film that is not only entertaining but frightening as well. The use of sound, background music, effects made the film so realistic it helped build the tension and suspense. Speaking of the use of sound, it caught my attention that whenever The Babadook is mentioned or the book is the topic of a scene, an eerie music will come up and this in result will make the scene so creepy it will send chills down your spine.
Although the technical aspects are effective, the movie will not be successful if the plot is cliché and mediocre. It’s a good thing this film isn’t like that at all. It revolves around Davis’ character and how she is suffering from the loss of her husband and taking care of her hardheaded son. One night, Samuel, played by Wiseman, asked his mother, Amelia, to read him a story and he picked a book entitled “Mister Babadook.” From the moment she picked up the book, their lives changed and it is not for good. This might sound like a shallow horror film but the story is much deeper than that.
The monster, The Babadook, is so terrifying and intriguing at the same time. Does it really exist? Is it really a monster? Or just a representation of Amelia’s grief/depression? These are the questions that the film threw at its viewers. And this is another factor as to why this is a good film. It does not spoon-feed you every single information you should and want to know. It leaves you to yourself and your ideas. The line “Let me in!” from the Mister Babadook book really made an impact to me because once you let The Babadook (your deepest fears, depression, grief), it WILL consume you and once you become depressed, it will be really hard to get back up again.
With a good directing and screenplay, the only element left is good actors and this film definitely did not fail on hitting that target. Essie Davis was phenomenal in this world. It was so clear that her character was in so much pain and she showed it beautifully. It can be seen that hair life is slowly draining away from her.
Noah Wiseman, also did a good job playing Samuel, an annoying, misunderstood kid at first but at the latter part of the film, it’s easy to sympathize with his character.