The Babadook

In Rhinebeck
Jan 19
Mon 8:35
(Australia/2014/dir by Jennifer Kent)
unrated / 94 mins
Talk about debut first features… here’s one – about a young widow and her six year old son – that is a frightening on all levels – and that will stick with you and bodes well for Jennifer Kent’s filmmaking future.
Having lost her husband the day her son was born, forlorn young widow Amelia (Essie Davis) is at a loss to love and to deal with her six year old son Sam (Noah Wiseman) whose dreams are plagued by a monster he believes is coming to kill them both. When a disturbing storybook called ‘The Babadook’ turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the Babadook is the creature of his dreams. As his fears and his behavior spiral out of control, Amelia, genuinely frightened, is forced to medicate him. But when Amelia begins to see glimpses of a sinister presence all around her, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about may be real. And soon she too is sucked into the Babadook’s world. A nail-biter. 

“Let a law be passed, requiring all horror films to be made by female directors. It would curb so many antiquated tropes: the use of young women, say, underdressed or not dressed at all, who are barely fleshed out as characters before that flesh is coveted, wounded, or worse. Beyond that, the law would restore horror to its rightful place as a chamber of secrets, ripe for emotional inquisition. Such thoughts are prompted by “The Babadook,” a fine new Australian film, written and directed by Jennifer Kent. This is about a woman in peril, yet it has no truck with the notion that she is a mere victim. At times, indeed, the peril seems to be, if not her fault, at least of her own making. Is she the sum of all fears, or the root of them?” – Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

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