The Babadook



A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son's fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.


I have just come across this film on IMDb in the up and coming section and I am unsure if it is has the potential to be a really great horror film or just another scrare-by-numbers film. It has an interesting plot and it has potential as an interesting film. Just maybe not a great horror film.

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The trailer has me disliking it and loving it at the same time. Like you said the idea is great. The "monster" is creepy as hell, but I'm not sure if it will go the route I expect it to. I guess I just have to wait and see.

Just seen a trailer for the DVD... read up on t'web and it's garnered 5/5 on IMDB and 97% on RT.

Anyone know any more about this? I might go out for the DVD on Friday.

A system of cells interlinked
The trailer has me disliking it and loving it at the same time. Like you said the idea is great. The "monster" is creepy as hell, but I'm not sure if it will go the route I expect it to. I guess I just have to wait and see.
Why would you want films to only be what you expect them to be? Doesn't leave much room for astonishment, surprise, or thinking outside the box, eh? Also wondering why the word monster is in quotes?

I saw this flick. It was a slightly above average horror flick with some fairly well-done suspense in places. Worth a watch for any horror fan, I would think.
ďHuman beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal, and if they are equal, they are not free.Ē ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Just seen a trailer for the DVD... read up on t'web and it's garnered 5/5 on IMDB and 97% on RT.

Anyone know any more about this? I might go out for the DVD on Friday.
Mark Kermode from The Guardian has been going on about it for a while now, he's a big horror fan and I think it's his favourite film of the year. It's meant to be a great fresh horror film from a new director, although I know some feel it's not all that great. Think it'll be worth a go if you like the genre though.

Personally I wasn't a fan of this one...

If you want to see a recent film dealing with personal and/or mental problems metaphorically disguised as a horror film, I would recommend 'Oculus' instead.

Oculus was interesting but The Babadook was far better. Mark Kermode goes on and on about The Babadook like it's some amazing new Horror classic, it's not but it is definitely one of the better horror films to come out in a while, and from a female director.

It has one of the creepiest 'creatures' in this film. Yikes.

Finally saw The Babadook this week and I'll post my thoughts in due course.

I did catch this eventually, reviewed it too. Great movie.

Review #245, Movie #316

Year Of Release



Jennifer Kent


Kristina Ceyton, Kristian Moliere


Jennifer Kent


Jed Kurzel


Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Hayley McElhinney, Daniel Henshall, Barbara West, Ben Winspear

Amelia Vanek, a Widower and Mother, has been spending the past 6 years raising her Son Samuel by herself. Amelia has struggled long and hard raising her boy but like many a single parent before her, she has coped rather well.
Samuel though is a very different boy and has what seems to be a highly active imagination, some kind of ADHD and is also what seems to be a technical whizz and tends to build weapons out of wood and elastic bands, string, cricket balls, and anything else he gets his hands on. Samuel’s behaviour also causes trouble at school and Amelia removes him from class due to what she perceives as a lack of understanding by the school board.

However, a book called Mister Babadook appears out of nowhere in Samuel’s room and she reads it to him as a bedtime story. The book however is darker than she realised once she’s already halfway through it, and it scares Samuel to the point he fixates on it relentlessly, eventually blaming “Mister Babadook” for his own behaviour.
The book is dark enough too that it even scares Amelia.

And as Samuel’s lack of sleeping and erratic behaviour take its toll on Amelia, causing her too to miss sleep and eventually lose her job… she too starts to see Mister Babadook.

Simply astounding.

Low budget (there’s only really two people in this film), and filmed primarily in one location… the Babadook is a masterclass in how to stage a psychological horror movie.

This film is incredibly unnerving to watch, there are many, many scenes throughout which sent shivers down my spine… and some of those scenes weren’t even the usual atmospheric spooky set-ups either. They were mundane scenes, given their gravitas by Essie Davis (Amelia) and the varying ways she reacts to things around her. The spooky scenes, every one of them, put me on edge. It’s very well crafted.
Horror movies, psychological or not, don’t tend to make me feel uncomfortable or, well, scared… and I mean at all… but wow, The Babadook is incredibly intense in its delivery of shocks and some occasionally generic spooky scenes, all held together by the fantastic photography and, well, simply, its lack of soundtrack.

The drab and dreary surroundings of the house also make for a great backdrop with the strange occurrences that are happening.

What’s also highly apparent with the movie as it progresses is the change in character that Amelia and Samuel go through. It’s as though their roles actually switch half way through and you wonder if these things are really happening, or if Amelia’s descent into madness is making her imagine it all.

Either way, I had to keep pausing this movie to take a breath, no joke.

And then… there’s that ending.

Essie Davis plays Amelia, with Noah Wiseman as Samuel. I’m not familiar with other work from either of these two actors…
Davis is immense in this movie. She starts out as a stressed single Mother, and falls gradually, and scarily, into the realms of psychopathy. Davis is incredibly realistic throughout too and never gets hammy or camp with it either. Her introduction is also perfectly played too, as she manages to get the audience on-side with her genuine personality and makes us care about her, and even sympathise with her.
Wiseman too manages to do this, but in reverse. As I said, the two roles sort of switch as the movie goes on. Wiseman manages to portray the kind of kid that most would walk away from or even hate to be around, and then he becomes someone you want to help and protect. Wiseman, for such a young age, rocks this role. He also plays the scarier scenes perfectly. I doubt any other young actor would be able to pull of such a layered role to be totally honest.

The rest of the cast are really non-characters though. They appear for a couple brief scenes and are never really seen again. This movie is all about Mother and Son Amelia and Samuel.
The rest of the cast though work, and are believable.

The effects of this movie are all based really around the photography and lighting, there’s little in the way of actual effects exactly.
There are a few scenes with the odd hint of CGI and some usage of what appears to be puppetry/man-in-suit but it’s really quite well rendered and pieced together.

The photography and the way the scenes are choreographed is absolutely tops though. Even in the quieter scenes I found myself watching the background, just in case something was going to happen.

All in all, unnerving, spooky, genuinely scary.

This movie is a modern masterpiece.

This truly is The Exorcist of today.

My Rating: 101%

My reaction:

WARNING: spoilers below
I liked The Babadook. I must have forgotten that it was an Australian film as I saw the trailer ages ago and that in itself renewed my interest. I cast my mind back to seeing films like Mad Max and Malcolm in the Nineties and I recognized something of the personality of those films in this one.

One of the things I wondered about was the presentation of the outside world in the film. Authority figures Ė as is the case in UK soaps Ė are shown as very bland and almost existing on another plane, but most of all are quite useless. I considered whether a less black-and-white take on that aspect would have made it more realistic, and consequently more frightening, but I accept that the film was pitched as a modern fairytale. For example Amelia's 'specific' taste in TV viewing and the stop-motion nature of the manifestations both come from that point of departure. Even some of the early, unsettlingly noisy shots have a hyperreal quality that reminded me of Delicatessen; I liked the Blue Velvet homage at the end as well.

It's certainly scary enough and I found it a much more satisfying experience than The Witch. The most unpleasant moment for me was the shot of Amelia making a hideous face through a window, and it was so effective to make such a nice woman gradually turn into a beast. I particularly like the scene where, ape-like, she hangs off a door frame, ferociously kicking to get in. I liked Essie Davis a lot, in both guises, and she's very strong on screen in a way that reminds me a lot of Cate Blanchett. I was quite pleased to have worked out what was going on, at least up to a point, at key stages in the film, and the concept is very impressive. There are nevertheless quite traditional and recognisable qualities at work but they don't really feel tired Ė the manner of possession for example made me recall the brilliant Entity; and, the emotional side of the film, The Eclipse, which I also thoroughly enjoyed. Needless to say The Exorcist was also in my head a few times.

I'm looking forward to seeing The Babadook a second time but I probably won't look at it for a while.

Little Devil's Avatar
MC for the Great Underground Circus
Bumping for Odum.
Nooooooo!!!! let it sink into oblivion.
You're more advanced than a cockroach, have you ever tried explaining yourself to one of them?

You can't win an argument just by being right!
Nooooooo!!!! let it sink into oblivion.

Noooo. I'm genuinely interested in crrying on the convo here. I felt the baba man was hijcking the other thread, and that's my job. I got jealous.

Little Devil's Avatar
MC for the Great Underground Circus
Noooo. I'm genuinely interested in crrying on the convo here. I felt the baba man was hijcking the other thread, and that's my job. I got jealous.
Fair enough. Mr. Baba Douche will be pleased.

just keep feeding it. NO WALKS though.