Written by Jennifer Kent
Directed by Jennifer Kent
2014 - IFC Midnight
Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman.
Eclectic Rating: stars
Now there's a creepy bedtime story. "Once you see what's underneath, you're going to wish you were dead."
I thought I had it bad. My mom made me say prayers containing wonderful fodder for a child's mind like "if I die before I wake..." And she was subsequently surprised, and angered, when I'd run into my parents' bedroom at 11pm, interrupting adult time, crying "I don't want to die!"
Well, what did you expect mom?
To be fair, the Mister Babadook bedtime storybook was presented by the child, not mom, so it's not directly her fault the kid started exhibiting signs of insomnia and emotional distress. What the hell is going on with this kid?
I found the behavior a little annoying, mostly the kid, but mom bothered me a bit too. It wasn't a bad film though, and I must keep in mind that they had gone through a tromatic experience, to say the least, and were grieving the loss of a husband and father.
But it had a slow start, and at first seemed just like a childhood behavioral disorder causing the issues. Then I started thinking psychokenisis could be at the root of it, and maybe from both mom and son. But some strange things began to happen which hinted that something far more sinister was afoot.
For example, mom rose up and floated across the room. Now we're left with no doubt, it's all real. She was possessed by the Babadook itself.
I was reminded of Home Alone with Macaulay Culkin as the boy defends himself against his Babadook-possessed mother with assorted weaponry. Though this film lacks the comedy, there is some subtle humor in it. The possession lasted minutes, and then we're presented with symbolic ink black Babadook puke as the story book evil exits her body. But is it really gone?
Of course not!
The stage is set and the final act plays out in a dark corner of the bedroom. Where apparently all it takes is the scream of an angry mom to dissuade the Babadook. Hell hath no fury like a mother protecting her child from a fairytale book monster come to life. Evil fleas into the basement and we live happily ever after. For the most part.
The Babadook film is an effectively chilling production, with expressionist elements that harken back to films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu, especially the classic looking film sequences in which Mister Babadook appears.
This lends to it's surrealism, keeping us somewhat disoriented and helping to juxtapose the storybook theme with real life. Great spooky atmosphere and effects.
Supernatural films don't usually intrigue me but I do enjoy good spooky filmmaking, and this was an entertaining tale.
And to think I was ascared of the troll in The Billy Goats Gruff.
So, life is not always as it seems. And they seem to be living happily ever after, or more like strangely ever after. What do you do with the pet Babadook anyway?
She feeds it worms...
Find The Babadook at Amazon.com (paid link)
Watch The Babadook on Netflix.More about The Babadook at IMDb.com
Last Update: 10 May, 2019