For years now, it seems that people have been raving about how good THE BABADOOK is. So, I freely confess that I should have got to it earlier. In my defence, there are loads of classic horror films out there, and so many new ones being released, and as such a man who doesn’t have that much time to see horror films can swiftly fall behind. Yes, I’m five years late but I finally got there and all I can say to anyone else who has similarly fallen behind is: Believe the hype about THE BABADOOK!
In Australia, a young widow with a son who seems to have emotional problems struggles to make her way each day. She clearly hasn’t processed her grief, her son has just been excluded from school, but far more dreadful problems are about to arrive. A scary children’s book has appeared on their shelves, and THE BABADOOK has invaded their home.
What makes it so effective is that although there is an external invader (and this film is so horror literate that the image of the Babadook itself is borrowed from Lon Chaney lost silent chiller LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT) what really makes it so creepy is how much of the horror comes from the internal.
This is about a young woman’s descent into madness and the things she might be capable of doing when her senses collapse. At the centre is a truly great performance from Essie Davis, who elicits empathy right at the start, and terrifies later even as the viewer still cares for her. Yes, The Babadook itself is undoubtedly scary, but this is a film about much more than jump-scares from a monster, it’s about mothers and sons and grief and loss, and it’s that emotional depth which gives the scares proper meaning.
My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free. A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!