The Babadook (2014)
Updated: Jul 31, 2019
Tension is fun isn’t it. Right from the outside this has it in spades. Sparse swathes of near silence punctuated with loud noises, innocent at first, but constantly building. Our two main characters are damaged, the mother wears it on the outside, the child more internal, but between them the issues slide deeper and darker. A family failing to recover from tragic loss of a husband and father. The simple car crash device could seem hackneyed and their house, minimal grey and drab, well, what I’m saying is the tropes are all there. The spooky kid, a conduit for the unseen terror that lurks and the consuming madness it brings. What’s real, what’s fiction, as the mother’s sanity unravels. It’s fun to get mixed up in the fantasy, but there’s something much more interesting in looking at what’s driving this, the mother’s depression, delusion, anxiety, sleep deprivation, parental inability, it’s all fuel for a sometimes formulaic thriller, but one that still works really well. I’m never keen on the supernatural, but when it has some anchor in reality I’m on board and this walks the tightrope just right. It helps that both Essie Davies and Noah Wiseman work so well, especially as the screen is largely theirs and theirs alone and it’s nice to see a film that knows how to play to its strengths. Ba ba dook dook DOOK!