Directed and written by Jennifer Kent, The Babadook brings us its own spin on the tale of parent and child in an old, dark house where things go bump (and more) in the night.
The Babadook takes place nearly seven years after the fatal car accident of expectant father Oskar (Benjamin Winspear), as he speed to get his pregnant wife Amelia (Esse Davis- The Matrix) to the delivery room. Amelia has never fully recovered from the loss of her husband, with her and son Samuel (Noah Wiseman), still very much living in the grip of that trauma. Amelia struggles to discipline her six-year-old Samuel who is highly-strung and emotionally volatile, with a penchant for building homemade weapons and acting out at school.
When a disturbing storybook called Mister Babadook turns up at their house, already prone to nightmares, Samuel is so alarmed by the bedtime story that Amelia abandons it halfway. But by that time it’s too late; they have already let the creature in, and Samuels dreams are plagued with thoughts that this monster is trying to kill him and his mother. As Amelia begins to see glimpses of the creature herself, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about may well be real.
Having seen a few of the drawings from the book and of course the Mister Babadook himself illustration, I would love a copy of these gothic, monochrome, three-dimensional folds that open with “Jeff the Killer” grins to them. All encased in handsomely crimson and black shell.
Writer-director Jennifer Kent scored a success at Sundance earlier this year with this minimalist but seemingly very effective horror film The Babadook, and I’ll definitely be checking this one out. Released in Australian Cinemas from May 22nd 2014, with other countries to follow and a limited theater and VOD release in the US from November 28th.
If it’s in a word, or if it’s in a book, you can’t get rid of The Babadook.
Director(s): Jennifer Kent
Writer(s): Jennifer Kent
Stars: Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Tiffany Lyndall-Knight
Studio/ Production Co: Causeway Films, Smoking Gun Productions
Budget: $8,000,000 (estimated)
Sub-Genre: Drama, Thriller