The Horror Honeys: The Babadook: Don’t Let It In...

The Babadook: Don’t Let It In...

A Supernatural Honey New Release Review by Suzanne

The Babadook (2014)

I’ve been seeing a LOT of BS horror films lately and continuing to lose my faith that anything new will be worthy of true horror, save the odd indie film. Last night I stayed up past my bedtime and watched a film I should have watched with the lights on. Here at The Horror Honeys, we have been awaiting the arrival of The Babadook with much anticipation. Let me tell you, it was more than worth the wait.

Essie Davis stars as Amelia, a single mom who, for seven years, has mourned the death of her beloved husband. He died in a car accident as he was driving Amelia to give birth to their son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman). Not able to move on, she dotes on Samuel, who has an overactive imagination and is beyond hyperactive. Amelia finds a book called "Mr. Babadook." She begins to read it to Samuel until she realizes it will only fuel his imagination and fear. She tries to rid herself of it, but it comes back, more than once. Each time, the story is different and more violent. As the Babadook manifests itself, the safety and sanity of both characters is on the line.

I will admit I spent a good share of the first act hoping the Babadook would eat Samuel (and we hadn’t even seen the monster yet). His constant need for attention, his screeching, whining, physicality, and his unwillingness to give his mother any personal space was beyond reproach. Because he believes there to be monsters in the house and spends his time in the basement crafting weapons out of scraps, in an effort to protect himself and his mother. Children and adults are frightened of him. His mother is frightened of him. I was frightened of him. He was fucking scary.

But then the script flipped…

Eventually, as the tension builds between mother and son, you develop an incredible amount of sympathy for Samuel. The level of resentment Amelia has been suppressing for the last seven years has finally reached its pinnacle. Not only has Samuel been her primary concern, he has single-handedly alienated her from friends and family. As her character changes, you are never sure what will happen from one moment to the next. Even when you know what’s going to happen, you can’t believe it actually happened.

Both Davis and Wiseman are a spectacular duo. While the character of Samuel was tough to stomach for the first half of the film, you really appreciate how superb the kid playing him really is. The range of emotion he pulled out of his little body, not to mention the physical stuff, was award winning. Then there is Essie Davis. There was nothing about her performance that didn’t both tug at your heartstrings and also make you want to cover your damn eyes. If both of them aren’t in therapy right now, I’d be surprised. Hell, I may need an emergency appointment with my shrink.

There is such an incredible use of color to enhance the mood, which is utterly depressing. The house interiors are blues and greys. Even Amelia is monochromatic, with her blonde hair, pale skin, and flesh tone colored clothing. Even at the conclusion, the colors are more defined, but only slightly.
Sound is another disturbing element. It’s so quiet it has the ability to easily startle. The voice of the Babadook is one I don’t need to hear for a while. The gravelly sounds of “Baaaaaaaa-baaaaa-dook-dook-dook” are permanently cemented in my stomach.

This movie is seriously low tech and it’s brilliant. Made for under $31,000, writer and director, Jennifer Kent used the majority of that on sets.

I can’t recommend this movie enough. It will be released in the US in November, but if you want a sneak peak, check out Kent’s short film, Monster.

Supernatural Honey verdict: 4.5 top hats out of 5

The Babadook comes to DVD/BluRay April 14th 2015