The Babadook kind of came out of nowhere, just like its titular monster, and watching it in a theater was an incredibly intense and suspenseful experience. The film tells the story of a mother and son who must confront a malevolent force of evil when they read a strange, mysterious storybook. The film is smart and sly in its scares. It’s a film, like The Conjuring, that believes that the slow, quiet camera movement down a dark hall is scarier than having an ugly face pop out as soon as the hall door opens. It’s a film that’s very creepy and suspenseful. Essie Davis is the real standout here; her performance as the mother is brilliant, one of the best horror performances in quite a while. When the movie starts, she’s already stretched a little thin, suffering from protracted grief over her husband’s death, and more anxious than she should be; as the film watches her progression further and further into darkness, she puts an evocative, visceral human face on the proceedings. And, God, that book. Creepiest prop ever or what? Especially the second volume. And the design of the monster and the way the film lets us see him only in glimpses here and there? Outstanding. But the film as a whole is just a creepy, terrifying, emotional masterpiece. And it’s Kent’s debut? Can’t wait to see what she does next; if this film is any indication, it’ll be brilliant. But for now, just watch this one and let it take you on the roller coaster ride it has in store. Great movie. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – creepy, terrifying masterpiece focuses on real human emotions and builds terror through quiet suspense and surprising creativity instead of cheap jump scares. 4 stars.