The Babadook

IF IT’S IN A WORD. OR IT’S IN A LOOK. YOU CAN’T GET RID OF THE BABADOOK.

 

babadookA single mother (Essie Davis) tries to cope with grief after her husband’s death as well as the behavior of her troubled boy (Noah Wiseman); everything becomes a lot worse when they find a mysterious pop-up book called “Mister Babadook”… Director Jennifer Kent developed this horror movie from a short she made in 2005, Monster, and it’s a very effective and dark nightmare that she’s constructing. Comparisons can be made with The Shining (1980) as the mother becomes increasingly unstable. Scary and claustrophobic, the film’s greatest triumph (apart from the lead performances) is how cleverly the monster turns into a symbol of both grief and a parent’s feeling of helplessness.

2014-Australia-Canada. 93 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Kristina Ceyton, Kristian Moliere. Written and directed by Jennifer Kent. Cast: Essie Davis (Amelia), Noah Wiseman (Samuel), Daniel Henshall (Robbie), Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, Benjamin Winspear.

Last word: “I wrote the film in Amsterdam – well, part of it in Paris – but I was staying with a Serbian writer, and I asked him, ‘What’s Serbian for ‘Boogeyman?’’ He said ‘Babaroga’, and I didn’t think that sounded right. But I started playing with ‘Baba’, and then ‘Babadook’ came up, and then it was just rhyming with everything, and it just felt right. But it’s stupid, it’s just a made-up thing.” (Kent, The Dissolve)

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