Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Babadook

Jennifer Kent's The Babadook shares similarities with a number of prolific horror films. But with two titles in particular, both which released in the same year. Those films in question are The Exorcist and Don't Look Now.

In comparison to Don't Look Now, The Babadook shares its depiction of grief. But what Amelia (Essie Davis) goes through is more complicated than what John and Laura endured. In fact, Kent presents less of a horror film and more of a depiction of living with mental illness. (And boy, it ain't pretty.)

With The Exorcist, The Babadook also follows the horror movie no-no of interacting with something creepy. (When will they ever learn not to do that?) And like Linda Blair's work in the former film. Davis gives a performance that's just as creepy -- no, creepier than -- what the young actress gave in 1973.

What Kent shows with The Babadook is something often lacking in horror films nowadays: a proper sense of paranoia. Usually copious amounts of bloodshed and gore are what's on full display. Kent eschews that detail to focus instead on how that unease affects those in the film. (More like this, please.)

The Babadook is one of those rare films where going into it blind makes it even better. Don't read anything about its plot, don't watch any trailers, just watch it before doing anything else pertaining to it. (Yes, that remark makes this whole review irrelevant but what can you do?)

My Rating: *****

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