Sam’s frequent tantrums turn sinister when a creepy children’s book mysteriously appears in his room, and he asks his mother, “Do you want to die?”
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I like a good horror film although it’s not often that I’m actually scared by them. However, if you ever want to scare the pants out of me then there is a formula that you can use and I’ll share it with you now – just in case you’re a budding film-maker… Here it is: have kids in it that are the target of some, mostly unseen, malevolent force. It’s really that simple – kids and a ‘baddy’ that you can’t actually see.
“The Babadook” gets this mostly right and, even though I’m only just starting this review, I’m going to say now that this is one reason why it’s such a good film. So, jumping back a bit, Sam (Wiseman) and his mum (Davis) live together and, owing to the tragic death of her husband (Sam’s Dad, in case you’re struggling with the family tree) their life isn’t overly pleasant. Sam can be a difficult child and, because of this, they both struggle with both family and friends; their grief is hard-hitting and long lasting. Sam spends his time building contraptions to protect himself from the ‘monster under the bed’, much to his mother’s disgust.
One night, when getting ready for bed, Sam discovers a new book called “The Babadook” – neither he nor his mum have seen the book before but they start to read it. It’s a rather creepy book that not only visibly scares Sam and his mum, but also did a good job of covering me in goosebumps! As time goes on, the mysterious book starts to come to life and really push the family to their limits.
You never really see The Babadook and this is one of the things that helps the film work; it becomes what you fear the most in your own imagination. The film is suspenseful throughout and has good pacing – you’re constantly wondering where the next scare will come from and, just as you let your guard down, it comes. The characters are well thought out, the acting is good and the overall look and feel of the film really add to the experience.
As the story progresses we start to learn more about the origins of the book and how both Sam and his mother are being affected by their past and the current events in their home. As events spiral towards the horrific finale we see some very intense and believable acting from both main actors. Will they manage to overcome The Babadook and return to normality?
It’s definitely a film I would watch again and, unlike most other psychological horrors, it leaves you thinking afterwards; particularly about how we as humans handle our own grieving processes. Give it a watch, scare yourself a bit and, even if you’re not creeped out like me, just enjoy a well-written, well-acted and well-made film.
Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!