The Babadook (2014)–Movie Review

Babadook poster

 

Director:  Jennifer Kent

Starring:  Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall |

 

2014 has been an awful year for horror.  Granted, I’ve been preoccupied with being a brand new Dad, but I honestly can’t name five horror films that have been released this year.  Of the 3 or 4 that I can name, I only saw one (Oculus, see Silvia’s review HERE), but I certainly didn’t hear good things about any of them.  Then, low and behold, I start hearing rumblings about a flick that apparently knocked some socks off at The Sundance Film Festival.  It was called The Babadook.

I started to get excited.

Then I started to see the reviews.

And the Facebook comments.

“Scariest film since The Exorcist.”  “One of the best horror films of the year.”  William Friedkin, who directed The Exorcist, even claimed that “I’ve never seen a film more terrifying than The Babadook.”

Here’s the thing:  Hype makes me nervous.  Rarely do films live up to it.  Whenever I see movies that “the general population” finds amazing I’m usually let down, and successful only in rekindling my lack of faith in the modern horror fan.  So, with a fair bit of caution I decided that if I didn’t see The Babadook for myself I would let these feelings fester and when I finally did get around to watching it—probably in a year—I would have already made up my mind to hate the movie before I ever pressed “play.”

 

babadook book

 

Last night I watched The Babadook.

Is it one of the best horror films of the year?  Yes.  In fact, having not seen the majority of the stuff that was released this year, I’d still be willing to make a blind wager and say this is the best horror film of 2014.

Is it the scariest film since The Exorcist, or the scariest film that I’ve ever seen?  Not by a long shot.

Here’s my 4 second review.  If The Exorcist is a 10, The Babadook is probably a 6, maybe a 7 if the wind blows just right.  What The Babadook truly is, is a good horror film.

I’m purposely not going to offer a synopsis on this review, because it wouldn’t be fair to you, dear reader.  In my opinion, the less that’s said about this film, the better.  If you want to see this movie for reasons other than the hype, you’ll see it.  Suffice it to say that the plot is good, and refreshingly original—that’s worth a fortune right there.  The film is truly a slow burning fuse and it puts on a suspense clinic—there’s no balls to the wall carnage here.  I thought the acting was brilliant, something I’ve come to realize can make or break a horror film.

The Babadook isn’t the scariest film I’ve ever seen.  I can’t guarantee it won’t be the scariest film you’ve ever seen.  What I can guarantee is that this is a well done, mature and suspenseful movie that gives horror fans something they haven’t seen.  Watch this and form your own, honest opinions.  Please don’t turn this into the next Paranormal Activity.  It deserves better than that.

 

–Tyson    tyson headshot

 

 

 

The Verdict

Overall:

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Plot:

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Acting:

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Gore:

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Suspense:

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Atmosphere:

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