The Babadook Review

Posted 7 years ago by myetvmedia

Word-of-mouth had been building for writer/director Jennifer Kent’s film debut, The Babadook just before its premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The film has since been hyped as an instant classic and even a rejuvenation of the horror genre. It tells the story of an evil presence that haunts a widow (Essie Davis) and her young son (Noah Wieseman) through a children’s book. So does The Babadook deserve the love? Yes and no.

First, the good: as one of the few women in horror, Jennifer Kent brings a unique perspective to her characters. She’s unafraid to make her heroine, Amelia, seem ugly. Amelia’s character takes turns as everything from insidious to full-on raging. Essie Davis deserves praise for her performance. For a genre that all too often objectifies women as either sex objects or victims, it’s refreshing to see a female lead get a chance to be something more, all without worrying whether or not her makeup has smudged.

But is The Babadook scary? Not really. It’s creepy, and Kent’s use of shadows creates a wonderful air of suspense, but the film peaks halfway through the second act, with its most frightening moments coming not from Mister Babadook himself, but from his eponymous book. What we’re given for the balance of the film is a series of predictable steps towards an obvious ending. And though it looks great, it won’t give me any nightmares. But then everyone has a different horror meter.

The Babadook made its Toronto premiere at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival on Friday, October 24th.

Nimy Leshinski

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