2014 delivered a real lack in spine tingling horror films that were smart and psychologically disturbing--until now. The Babadook from Australia is genuinely the best in the genre this year. It’s smart enough to know it’s limits and strengths and taps into certain situations (like a mother telling her young autistic son “if you are so hungry, go eat sh*t) that bewilder the audience into where this disturbing tale will end up. Combined with two powerhouse genre performances by Essie Davis and Daniel Henshall, this is the type of scare flick we have been missing.
Seven years after the tragic death of her husband on the way to the hospital to deliver little Robbie, Amelia (Davis) is continually tortured by that memory. Bittersweet because of the death of her husband and the birth of her child, Robbie (Henshall) is nothing but a reminder of what she has lost. Now seven, he has an overactive imagination and is unable to interact socially with other children; he is sent home from school for bringing in handmade weapons he makes at home. When a strange book called The Babadook appears at their home and makes its way into story-time, the terrifying story of a demon under the bed begins to terrify both Amelia and Robbie.
There is nothing like a film that taunts the viewer to yell at the screen, which is why The Babadook probably plays better in the comfort of your own home. This is probably not something you want to watch at night, and this is not a film for young children. Possessed or not, there are scenes of dialogue that no young child should ever hear from any parent. The psychological element to the film really makes the story even more terrifying; that and the unpredictable elements of the script.
All the characters seem genuine and act and react in a realistic and plausible way, except for the moments where you feel Amelia should be spanking the unruly child in the beginning. It’s interesting to watch Robbie begin to gain control as Amelia begins to lose it, both mother and son have an interesting dynamic; he even interrupts a private massage she is having to relax. Insomnia, unsettling darkness, night terrors, unnerving sounds (props to the sound department) and bug infestations pretty much run the gamut of creepy elements that should disturb everyone a bit.
Final Thought – Easily takes the honor of best horror film of 2014.
By: Dustin Chase