31 Days Of Horror - The Babadook (2014)

It definitely seems like The Babadook and It Follows were the two most talked about horror movies of the past year, and somehow I didn't manage to see either of them before this October.  By the time I got around to watching this one, I had unfortunately already had a major part of the ending spoiled for me, but I still wasn't exactly sure what the movie was going to be about going in.

The Babadook is the story of a widowed mother whose struggle to keep her son under control becomes more difficult after he begins obsessing about a monster from a picture book.  Many people I've talked to were disappointed by the film compared to the critical praise it received.  That's understandable.  Much of the movie is down-tempo relationship drama between the mother and son, and it will probably have you cringing whether it's because you can't stand how hard the little boy makes life for his mother or because you're frustrated that nobody wants to listen to a kid who is obviously deeply sad.  The movie also likes to play with a sense of paranoia, constantly bringing up the question of whether the Babadook is a true supernatural being, the product of a traumatized imagination or possibly a stalker messing with the family.  It can be painful to watch how badly the incident affects both main characters as they wear out the patience of their loved ones.

The Babadook creature is well done.  We only get brief glimpses of it, but it is effectively creepy and very stylish.  The movie makes it a point that it looks like something you would see in a 1920s silent film, and it's nice to see a haunting with a personality compared to what you might get from a Paranormal Activity film.  Overall, I feel like this movie is really well made and excels in several key areas, but it's not always a fun movie to be watching, so I only recommend it if you can tolerate the slow and sad.

Rating:

Movie: 4/5

Scary: 3/5

Creepy: 4/5