ba-Ba-ba Dook Dook Dook!
October 17, 2017
I’ve seen this movie advertised in various streaming channels, and was always sort of interested, but always found something that interested me more. I’m not sure what I expected from the blurb:
“A single mother is plagued by the violent death of her husband and battles with her son’s fear of a monster in the house. She soon discovers the sinister presence all around her when a disturbing storybook turns up at their door.”
It was an interesting idea, but the blurb just wasn’t all that…I don’t know…compelling.
Then I saw a review of the 10 most under-rated horror flicks available to stream, and this was one of them. So I decided to give it a try.
There is a saying: “It follows the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law” and that blurb is a fine example of following the letter at the expense of the spirit. There’s nothing in the blurb that’s wrong, but at the same time, the blurb is horribly incomplete.
This movie is delicious: creepy, shocking, dread-filled, and based on a solid, no-holes story. It’s also a story of redemption. The gist of it is like this: A mother survives a horrible traffic accident on the way to the hospital, but the father perishes. Two weeks shy of seven years later, the boy and mother and fighting to survive. The boy is terrified of monsters and builds elaborate weapons to defend himself. The mother is frazzled–over-wrought with her high engagement child, trying to provide for him and keep house, etc. while dealing with her depression about the loss of her husband. Then, this enigmatic children’s book appears in their house, and she mistakenly reads it to her son as a bedtime story. From that incident, the horror begins.
I don’t want to give anything away, so I’m going to stop there. The movie can be interpreted in a couple of ways: 1) as a supernatural horror story, and 2) as a portrait of psychotic depression. In either case, this is a must-see. The production quality is high, the performances put in by both Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman are incredible (and young Noah’s performance is all the more impressive because of his age, which was 6 at the time he was cast). The music direction was excellent, often creepy music builds and builds and then abruptly cuts off following an action on screen (like putting the lid on a garbage can, etc.). The monster in the film, the Babadook, is portrayed in a blend of insectile and Japanese-inspired horror movements that is quite creepy. The glimpses of the Babadook as the film develops only heighten the atmosphere, and keep you guessing as to whether he is really there or just part of some psychotic delusion.
I enjoyed this film, and if you like creepy horror, I think you will too.