The Babadook
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The Babadook – Film Review


Experience in the theatre can be a wonderful one. Especially for anyone who wishes to escape from their daily life to see and discover something new. Now there are many movies out there who attempt to give you this experience but can fail miserably. It all depends on the director and their skill to keep their audience committed.This debut child of Jennifer Kent “The babadook” is indeed a movie of its kind.

In an age where most horror flicks use cheap tricks such as jumpscares, which may surely give you a heart attack but still diminishes the meaning of horror. The true meaning of any horror film is not just making your audience bounce off their seat. It means to take them on a rollercoaster ride through all the emotions which the director wishes to show them and later on still lingers in your mind as a sweet dish.

And Jennifer Kent has managed to achieve this by not just using brilliant cinematography but also a beautiful script. The main protagonists Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman, bring out the sentiments in an attractive manner.

What makes The Babadook so Wonderful?

The story takes us on a journey of a single mother. Also our main protagonist Essie Davis/ Amelia with her six-year-old kid who is Noah Wiseman/Samue. The problems Amelia faces include not just raising a kid alone who is nothing but an annoyance. But also includes many underlining psychological issues such as depression and mourning. Lastly the demise of her husband who has passed away.

The first half of the film takes a slow pace, just introducing the characters and how their lives revolve around each other. The viewers feel pity for Amelia and similarly get angry towards Samuel. Through various scenes, you only feel more sympathy for Amelia who is not getting enough sleep. She clearly hates her job and yet tries to care for her kid who is a pain in the arse.

Proceedings through the story, it seems pretty reasonable and slow. The single mother and her agony still keeps the audience engaged. But things slowly start to escalate when Samuel finds a strange book called “Mr babadook”. As weird the name sounds the content gets more creepy, it starts as light and funny but soon turns out to be dark and twisted.

The Babadook Overview

The introduction of the book starts it all. That is one of the most beautifully shot scenes in the movie. A slight rumbling sound of roaches not only makes the mood intense but also creates an atmosphere for the viewers. They expect something, and that is where the brilliance of the direction comes. The scene tempts you to hope something and imagine scenarios. But you are left with nothing and straight away transitioned to the next scene. This makes it uneasy to watch because you know something is odd, but you don’t understand what.

Jennifer Kent has taken simple elements of fear and managed to amplify them to a great extent. Let’s assume the scene where Amelia is washing the dishes. She glances over to her neighbour, a perfectly normal view until she looks over again. She finds the babadook in the background grinning and looking towards Amelia. This is one of the terrifying scenes, but there is no sudden sound to scare you; still, it is enough to unnerve to an extent.

Or the scene where the babadook possesses Amelia, a genuinely frightening scene in the whole movie where Amelia is sleeping in her bedroom with Samuel. Initially, there is a slight knock on the door the atmosphere gets intense and as Amelia opens the door only to find their pet dog trying to enter the room and but soon a screeching sound at the door appears.

The knob turns to open the door and its none other than the babadook who slowly embarks the room. But the camera is turned towards Amelia as she hides under the blanket, and finally tries to peek at what is happening, she discovers the babadook over the ceiling, hanging and grinning over her.

This is something called a reaction shot where instead of focusing on the monster, your complete attention and fear is directed towards Amelia, and instead of getting scared of the babadook, your concern for the main protagonist.

Certain small things show us the beauty of the cinematography. For instance, the isolation of Amelia in most of the shots even when she is in a group. She is alone. Or the slow but intense camera movements which make you follow everything you see. The entire visual is marvellously glued to the soundtrack of the film. It’s all so beautiful.


In the end, if you want to enjoy a psychological thriller with a sense of satisfaction of watching something terrifying and scary, the Australian horror flick is perfect for you with amazing visual and sound accompanied by an oscar-winning performance by Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman. The Babadook truly stands in a league of its own by seizing its audience through it.

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Read The Babadook Full Cast and Crew

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