For Reel

The Babadook (2014)
December 8, 2014, 8:35 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Jennifer Kent
4.5 Stars
The BabadookThe title monster of The Babadook–a slender, long-fingered creature that looks like Freddy Krueger emerged from the Cabinet of Caligari–is only one of the three terrorizers in director Jennifer Kent’s feature debut. Frightening as the supernatural might be, few things are more terrifying than the absolutely ordinary. Samuel (Noah Wiseman) is a six-year-old obsessed with the macabre, and Amelia (Essie Davis) is the single-mother at her wit’s end trying to keep up with him. The actions of a problem child are as anxiety-inducing as any creature–in an early scene, he simply climbs to the top of a jungle gym and perches there, taunting his mother with the potential of his own injuries–and there are few things more frightening than a parent driven mad. Kent’s grounding of the picture in this psychological realism is what elevates it beyond most entries in its genre from recent years. Mister Babadook may or may not be a psychological manifestation birthed from an increasingly tense relationship between a son and his mother, but the picture always forefronts the fact that he’s only a catalyst for the real dramatic conflict.