Ginger Nuts of Horror
'Babadook' dook dook push pineapple shake the tree.
Sorry, I couldn't resist it.
Three guesses what I was watching, ok you just need one guess unless you're being sarcastic. The film had a great reputation as being incredibly scary and to be honest my expectations on hearing that were that it was probably going to be just another hyped to the gills load of old rubbish.
I was pleasantly surprised. It was a good idea, told in a very minimalistic fashion, and had far more going for it than I expected it to have. Strong story, even stronger acting. The mother, Amelia (Essie Davis) had the arduous task of holding this picture together and really did an excellent job of appearing to be totally burned out by her son's behavior as Samuel (Noah Taylor) is seeing monsters in all of the usual places. The son in question is more one of those monster lunatics who isn't possessed by demons but has such a behavioral disorder that he'd be a poster child for Ritalin. The first half of the film had me wanting to strangle the little shit just to get some peace and quiet, which is fantastic as it shows that the film makers chose the right kid to bring life to what could in other hands be a totally dull film.
Essie Davis is a director's dream; she is totally frazzled and believable in her role. She doesn't think her son is anything other than a problem child and that the Babadook is nothing more than a horrible character in an equally horrible storybook, a book that seems to have appeared from nowhere. Whilst the latter is true the former is certainly not the case as the Babadook is a large part of the problem. He's dark, shadowy, wears a big hat and has some sort of 'Black and White Minstrel' type vibe going for him, which is a little comedic as it is very similar to a character in the BBC series 'The League of Gentlemen'. To be honest that character is highly creepy, and the Babadook trades on a similar look in a similarly creepy fashion.
Hello… Dave… You're MY Babadook now!
Over the runtime it changes pace, gathering in intensity in all aspects of the story. Mommy has 'friends', the sort of friends who are not entirely supportive of a problem child, especially when they sense that their own children are somehow at risk from him. This leads to perfectly executed problems with thoroughly realistic everyday sort of responses. I liked the way Amelia was portrayed immensely as it gave a sense of the real to what is an outlandish situation.
It could be taken perhaps as an allegorical tale of mental illness both in the mother's diminishing grasp on her son and her son's diminishing grasp on reality but as much as it treads that path it is still very much a story of something wicked this way coming.
Was it scary, well yes it certainly has its moments, it's another understated Aussie offering which is yet again proving that with a little bit of imagination you can pull off a really good horror movie without having to go heavy in with the CGI.
Released by Vendetta Films it is available on Blu-Ray now:
REVIEWED BY JOE YOUNG/joe-young.html