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Old 08-01-2014, 09:08 AM   #1
CPT HOOK
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The Babadook (2014)



I saw this recent Australian boogeyman movie on Wednesday night and really enjoyed it. It does have a few creepy bits, but it somewhat misses the mark as a scary movie. However, it fully succeeds as a drama, dealing with the relationship between a strained mother and her troubled son. Both actors are absolutely perfect in their roles, the son being the perfect combination of obnoxious and charming, and the mother being frustrated by the son who she doesn’t always like but really does love. These two carry the film effortlessly. The boogeyman doesn’t really show up until pretty late in the film, so they’re sort of forced to carry it. The editing helps convey their strained relationship as well, with close-ups of grinding teeth and feet kicking the back of a car seat.

The movie does have a dark little sense of humor as well, and a lot of the jokes hit their mark. For instance, during a CPS visit, the child (having just taken some prescribed drugs) announces, “I’m sleepy from all the drugs mom gave me”. There’s another similar moment near the end of the film. Maybe it’s because of those bits of humor that the audience was laughing through the parts that were intended to be scary? As for the scares, the Babadook is mostly kept in the dark, but he does make a few on-screen appearances. There’s a really fantastic and visually gorgeous scene where he appears in the black-and-white movie the mother is watching, done with stop-motion effects. Horror fans will likely recognize clips from Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath playing on the television as well. And there’s a really fun little Home Alone / Nightmare On Elm Street aspect to the film, where the kid builds weapons and sets boobytraps.

I would absolutely recommend checking it out, however, I would strongly advise you approach it as a character drama with dark supernatural elements, and not an outright horror film. If you go in expecting non-stop jump scares or figures constantly lurking in the background ala Insidious (although there is some of that), you’ll be sorely disappointed. The emphasis is first and foremost on the characters.

Anyone else here seen or heard of this one? When it screened, it had the IFC Midnight logo before it, so I imagine they'll be handling the U.S. distribution.

Trailer

Last edited by CPT HOOK; 08-01-2014 at 09:11 AM.
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