THE BABADOOK Terrifies and Delivers – Blu-ray Review
Remember a few months ago when I reviewed the Australian horror movie, The Babadook? Yeah, me either. I did review it, but I only did so after viewing the film once. Since then, and multiple viewings, I’ve realized that I didn’t point out nearly enough pieces of the film that made it so great and definitely worth of the best horror film of 2014 award. But now that The Babadook is finally on Blu-ray, I thought I’d go back and try to recapture all my thoughts instead of that post it note I called a review.
The Babadook official synopsis:
Six years after the violent death of her husband, Amelia (Essie Davis) is at a loss. She struggles to discipline her ‘out of control’ 6 year-old, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), a son she finds impossible to love. Samuel’s dreams are plagued by a monster he believes is coming to kill them both. When a disturbing storybook called ‘The Babadook’ turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the Babadook is the creature he’s been dreaming about. His hallucinations spiral out of control, he becomes more unpredictable and violent. Amelia, genuinely frightened by her son’s behaviour, is forced to medicate him. But when Amelia begins to see glimpses of a sinister presence all around her, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about may be real.
The Babadook follows two central characters; Amelia (Davis) and her son, Robbie (Daniel). Amelia has lost her husband and is left to mother her child all alone and it’s very apparent from the beginning that she’s stuck in life. For lack of a better term. She doesn’t feel like she properly loves her kid, she’s always mad, doesn’t know how to cope, etc,,, She’s try’s desperately to grasp onto every last straw that’ll somehow piece her life back together, but through it all, still comes up empty handed. Soon this is all amplified when Robbie finds a book called The Babadook, which mysteriously appears in the house one night. From this point on, we are strapped in for one of the most frightening movie experiences we’ve seen in quite some time.
The Babadook, unlike many other films in the horror genre, doesn’t rely on jump scares which makes it that much more terrifying and a truly unforgettable experience. We’re introduced to this being, entity if you will, called The Babadook, whose mission is nothing more than to terrify the family until its goals are completed. The Babadook makes it self known by its creepy entrance along with its nightmare inducing sound, “Babadook-dook-dook-dook”, or something along those lines. Goosebumps are forming as I write that. Writer and director, Jennifer Kent, doesn’t have that much of a resume when it comes to both mediums, but after seeing The Babadook, it’s clear she’s cut out for both of them. The Babadook is a slick, well directed movie. Accompany that with some of the best writing in a horror film? You’ve struck gold.
The thing I hear most from people, and that I 100% agree on, is that The Babadook, while being a “scary monster” movie, is actually not about that at all. It’s about the crippling depression that Amelia is put under and what it does to her family. After viewing this film multiple times, the symbolism becomes clearer and the picture expands to new depths. I’m not saying that it’s not about a monster or unknown entity, it still is, The Babadook just seems to have a lot of reasoning behind it. To have it be a horror film, while dealing with serious issues and scaring the crap out of its audience, is a serious achievement especially in todays age.
Essie Davis puts on one of the best performances I’ve seen in years. The way Essie expresses certain feelings and emotions feels so raw and real, that I had a hard time distinguishing character from actor. How she hasn’t won an award for this film is beyond me. Not only her, but her partner in crime and on screen son, Daniel Henshall, did a brilliant job! You never really judge kid actors performances all that much, he did such a brilliant job at playing Robbie. Just like Essie, it was all so raw and real. The casting for The Babadook is truly tremendous and deserves far more recognition that what it has gotten.
Now that The Babadook is on Blu-ray, you can witness all the scares in 1080p along with some amazing bonus features. Don’t miss out on one of the best horror films in years. Also, Shout Factory has a limited edition featuring a pop up cover. (Pictured below.)
Limited-Run “Pop Up” Packaging
Cast And Crew Interviews
Behind-The-Scenes Of The Making Of The Film
Jennifer Kent’s Short Film, “Monster”