Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96% (Critics) / 93% (Audience)
Directed By: Jennifer Kent
Written By: Jennifer Kent
Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall
Studio: IFC Films
Synopsis: 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. – (Source)
Essie Davis as Amelia, a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown was very impressive and incredibly convincing. She seemed on the verge of crumbling into a sobbing heap pretty much any moment she was onscreen.
I really liked the concept of this film with it’s haunted children’s book and creepy monster who hides in the shadows. And the director showed a deft hand at creating an ominous atmosphere at times.
Nothing really ever happens in this film though. I get that this isn’t the type of movie that racks up a high body count but I would have loved to see a bit more of the Babadook haunting this mother and her son and chipping away at both of the character’s fragile sanity in a bit more depth. The reading of the book sets up what seems like it is going to be a wonderfully scary journey but the movie never fully commits to it.
And aside from about 2 or 3 scenes there is not much in the way of scares to be found here.
Noah Wiseman as Sam was quite possibly the most horrific thing about this movie. he was the most obnoxious and bratty child ever to put on film. He screamed and wailed and was just an all around little monster. He even looked a bit like the infamous “Bat Boy” that seemed to show up monthly on the cover of those Weekly World News tabloids you would see in the line at the supermarket. I wanted horrible things to happen to this child during the duration of this movie. Horrible, unspeakable things.
Final Verdict: This is one of those not very scary horror films that all of the “serious critics”, who usually wouldn’t even lower themselves to review a film like this, love to pieces yet I cannot fathom why. The concept is an intriguing one, Essie Davis gives a strong performance and I would love to have my own copy of The Babadook children’s book but the movie itself is not very good. Unless your idea of a fun horror movie is putting yourself through the torture of watching 60 minutes of a whiny screaming little goblin child then I would advise you to skip THE BABADOOK entirely.