Based on the current state of horror in cinema (especially with duds like Annabelle and Ouija both released this year), it’s easy to write off the genre as foregone. I had heard very good things The Babadook before seeing it, and was extremely pleased to find that this low-budget Australian not only revitalized my hopes for the horror genre, but also managed to scare the shit out of me. Thanks to the incredible talent of director, and writer Jennifer Kent, as well as the immensely effective acting of leads Essie Davis, and Noah Wiseman, The Babadook manages to take the monster film we’ve seen before, and add loads of depth.
Amelia (Davis) is a single mother, who, after tragically losing her husband, struggles with raising her only son, Samuel (Wiseman). Samuel doesn’t get along with others and is constantly crafting his defenses against monsters he insists are real. When Amelia finds an immensely unsettling pop up book telling the story of a creature called The Babadook who will knock (ba-ba-ba dook-dook-dook) when he “wants in” on a shelf in Samuel’s room, strange occurrences begin around the house. The events, as well as the atmosphere, and mental state of the characters, build to fever pitch over the course of the film, to the point where I was shaking in my seat. The fine-tuned story-telling along with the oppressively gloomy and effective atmosphere, make The Babadook not only one of the best horror films in years, but one of the most finely crafted of the year.