The Babadook (2014)
Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, Ben Winspear
Plot: A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son's fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.
My Review and Thoughts:
What filmmaking is all about?
Truly a frightening modern classic. Old school brilliance of tension and darkened frights. Original and unique one of a kind story, acting, atmosphere and conclusion. I felt this film and it left a perfect impression upon me. The skill to create an emotional roller coaster of fear and simplistic frights. It bleeds the old school of horror cinema. The sounds, images and completion of the film sends the viewer back into the realm of quality film without having to use a high budget and glamor shots.
The best way to watch this movie is with the lights off. The sound up, and alone. Loved the dread, classic hair raising reality. Perfect fright and scary tone with the beauty of the simple effective way of being scary.
Possibly one of my new favorites. I felt this was a new modern classic that instantly showcases itself into a cult film setting.
Directed and written by actress Jennifer Kent. This is her first feature length film and I think she aces it in the creepy department of horror movie brilliance. Truly one of the most gifted and terrifying accomplishments in cinema.
The dark, gloomy and depressing imagery makes the film stand out. Dark grey tones. Lack of color adds to the Brothers Grimm fairy tale style reality to the story and the affective nature of imagery and noise. The performances are stunning.
Essie Davis as the mom, depressed, widowed, raising an odd child and sent into a darkened reality reminds me of perfection in acting. Her part goes up there with Piper Laurie as Margaret White. She aces the part of Amelia. Her performance stands out as being something to truly remember. She gave it her all. She aced the struggling mother. She was able to grab the viewer and make you feel her plight and spiral into an emotional ordeal of insanity and the horror taking shape around her.
Next the acting by Noah Wiseman as Sam is a perfect little gentlemen performer. At times an unruly little snot and at others a loving child. Wiseman has a true passion for performing and he gave and created the part of Sam in a gifted way. The character of Sam made you believe his fear, dread and emotional state. Might I add this is his first feature film and I have to say he aced it also. He played the part of the child perfectly annoying, believable and also lovable.
There is a dark visual experience with this film that is able to create an old school film making feel, yet mixes the ultimate nightmarish quality that is childhood nightmares. This gives life to the creature under the bed. It gives breath to the monster in the closet. It pushes the blood into the bed time haunts of children. Most of all this film explores the bond of mother and child and the exploration of survival in the reality of single parenthood, coping, raising and pushing oneself beyond the idea of thinking and doing horrible choices.
The film itself in the way it’s filmed and held tightly to an idea of a coffin. The tight weaved atmosphere of walls that close in and create a claustrophobic reality of this family life and relationship is captured in a flawless way. There is an idea of imprisonment in the house. A caged animal syndrome as emotions and attitudes slowly meld into un-rational wellbeing.
The atmosphere gives off a black and white haunting horror film even though it’s filmed in color.
The brilliant stop motion approach to the Babadook makes it all the more flawless. In an age where I feel computers and high budget moments have destroyed true filmmaking, The Babadook is able to express the craftsmanship and originality of imagination once again. The realism of the feel expresses itself in crystal clarity.
What needs to stand out and be expressed is the story. The story builds and gives a dynamic quality that so many horror films lack. This day and age horror films have become unoriginal and the same thing over and over again. Even when a horror film comes along that is good it still lacks an emotional relationship with the characters. The Babadook gives you the characters in story and emotions and a believable setting that grows on the viewer and gives you characters you become a part of. We all can relate to the characters in this film. The movie gives you living, breathing reality based characters.
This is not simply another horror movie. It is so much more. It’s an original crafted storybook nightmare that gave a high quality and memorable emotional states. Ultimately a frightening reality that film makers should look to in how to create a film that leaves a lasting mark and will stand the test of time.
I highly recommend this movie. I loved it from beginning to end and I feel it’s a modern classic of cinema.