Babadook

The Babadook

4.3 3
Director: Jennifer Kent, Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Barbara West

Cast: Jennifer Kent, Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Barbara West

     
 

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Amelia (Essie Davis), the heroine of Jennifer Kent's horror movie The Babadook, is an Australian single mother haunted by memories of her late husband's tragic death. He was in the midst of taking his very pregnant wife to the delivery room when the couple had a devastating car wreck. Mother and baby

Overview

Amelia (Essie Davis), the heroine of Jennifer Kent's horror movie The Babadook, is an Australian single mother haunted by memories of her late husband's tragic death. He was in the midst of taking his very pregnant wife to the delivery room when the couple had a devastating car wreck. Mother and baby were saved; dad perished. That was six years ago. Now, as the story opens, Amelia is raising her young son Samuel (Noah Wiseman), a sweet-natured but very precocious and troubled little boy. On a nightly basis, Samuel grows convinced that monsters lurk beneath his bed, and he has even constructed homemade weapons, such as a miniature wooden catapult and crossbow, to fend off the invading enemies. His eccentric behavior alienates his schoolteachers, who insist on removing him from a group setting in the classroom in favor of a special-needs situation with a one-on-one tutor. Meanwhile, Samuel's conduct stresses Amelia to the breaking point. The situation at home grows much more bizarre when Samuel asks his mom to read to him, and produces a strange children's storybook from his bedroom shelf. Entitled "The Babadook," it's an eerie pop-up book with charcoal illustrations of a demonic figure that announces itself by knocking at the door of a house six times ("Ba-ba-ba-DOOK-DOOK-DOOK"), and then devours all who reside within. Neither Amelia nor Samuel have ever seen this volume before, nor do they know how it turned up in their home. Stranger still, it lacks an author and publishing information. The book instantly has Samuel in tears, and Amelia plans to dispose of it, but that same night, six knocks sound on the door and rattle the house...

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Amelia (Essie Davis), the heroine of Jennifer Kent's horror movie The Babadook, is an Australian single mother haunted by memories of her late husband's tragic death. He was in the midst of taking his very pregnant wife to the delivery room when the couple had a devastating car wreck. Mother and baby were saved; dad perished. That was six years ago. Now, as the story opens, Amelia is raising her young son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman) - a sweet-natured but very precocious and troubled little boy. On a nightly basis, Samuel grows convinced that monsters lurk beneath his bed, and has even constructed homemade weapons, such as a miniature wooden catapult and crossbow, to fend off the invading enemies. His eccentric behavior alienates his schoolteachers, who insist on removing him from a group setting in the classroom and setting up a special needs situation with a one-on-one tutor. Meanwhile, Samuel's conduct stresses Amelia to the breaking point. The situation at home grows much more bizarre when Samuel asks his mom to read to him, and removes a strange children's storybook from his bedroom shelf. Entitled 'The Babadook,' it's an eerie, pop-out gothic with charcoal illustrations of a demonic figure that announces itself by knocking at the door of a house three times ("Ba-ba-ba-DOOK-DOOK-DOOK") and then devouring all who reside within. Neither Amelia or Samuel have ever seen this volume before, or know how it turned up in their home. Stranger still, it lacks an author and publishing information. The book instantly has Samuel in tears, and Amelia plans to dispose of it, but that same night, three knocks sound on the door and rattle the house... This is essentially a good, scary, old-fashioned shocker - a throwback horror picture that gets its charges from pounding in the night, startling effects such as the appearance of roaches and pools of black blood, and lightning-flash manifestations of the supernatural. Kent employs a particularly wise strategy in terms of introducing the Babadook. She first defines his shape and form via the charcoal pictures in the kids' book, and it's a terrifying apparition that seems pulled from our darkest and most buried fears - with its black top hat and coat, and extended razor-like claws, the Babadook looks like the love child of Jack the Ripper and Nosferatu. Then, for much of the initial hour, Kent keeps the demon off-camera - which allows the dread to build inside of us - until we finally begin to see his shape manifest, subtly, in the background of scenes. It's a truly chilling effect that plays on our subconscious terrors, and the way that the threats build is also horrifying - to Kent's credit, the Babadook does have a clear-cut motivation for terrorizing mother and son, that only gradually becomes apparent - and that aim feels credible enough to make one's blood run cold. The occasional doses of black humor - much of it derived from weird supporting characters, such as a ghoulish cop and an snide pair of social workers - also feel refreshing and provide comedic relief from the tension. Only the conclusion of the story seems off-base. Once the scriptwriters set up the threat of the Babadook, unveil his intentions, and pit mother and son against him, the narrative slams into a brick wall. You find yourself wondering how in the world the tale can possibly arrive at a credible resolution (let alone a happy one), and it doesn't resolve itself - not really. While Kent scores points by avoiding cataclysmic violence at the end (no bloodbaths, here), the so-called solution that she does concoct is risible - it throws all logic and sanity out the window. You feel let down; this could have been a minor horror classic, and it falls short of the mark because Kent & co. never tie up the loose ends satisfactorily. Still, for much of the way, The Babadook is a commendably restrained frightfest that works the audience up into a state of almost unbearable intensity. Story flaws aside, it announces a director of great skill, intuition and imagination in Kent, and sublime performances by Davis and Wiseman that help sell the more extreme twists that arise.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/14/2015
UPC:
0826663157734
Original Release:
2014
Rating:
NR
Source:
Shout Factory
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:33:00
Sales rank:
6,912

Special Features

Interviews with the cast and crew; Behind the scenes; Theatrical trailers

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Essie Davis Amelia
Noah Wiseman Samuel
Barbara West Mrs. Roach
Daniel Henshall Robbie
Hayley McElhinney Claire
Tim Purcell The Babadook
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight Supermarket Mom
Cathy Adamek Prue
Peta Shannon Eastern Suburbs Mom 2
Benjamin Winspear Oskar
Michael Gilmour Young Policeman 1
Adam Morgan Police Sergeant
John Maurice Car Guy
Craig Behenna Warren
Terence Crawford Doctor
Carmel Johnson Teacher
Hachi Bugsy
Michelle Nightingale Eastern Suburbs Mom 3
Pippa Wanganeen Eastern Suburbs Mom 1
Chloe Hurn Ruby
Lotte Crawford Kissing Woman
Stephen Sheehan Magician
Lucy Hong Supermarket Little Girl
Chris Roberts Kissing Man
Tony Mack Principal
Sophie Riggs Checkout Chick
Craig McArdle Young Policeman 2
Sophie Allan Fast Food Kid 5
Bridget Walters Norma
Isla Zorkovic Fast Food Kid 2
Ethan Grabis Fast Food Kid 4
Jacqy Phillips Beverly
Annie Batten Old Woman in Corridor
India Zorkovic Fast Food Kid
Charlie Crabtree Fast Food Kid

Technical Credits
Jennifer Kent Director,Screenwriter
Nikki Barrett Casting
Pete Best Associate Producer
Sue Carroll Makeup
Kristina Ceyton Producer
Jan Chapman Executive Producer
Claire Yvonne Evans Production Manager
Karen Hannaford Art Director
Jeff Harrison Executive Producer
Alex Holmes Art Director,Production Designer
Andrew Kotatko Musical Direction/Supervision
Jed Kurzel Score Composer
Radek Ladczuk Cinematographer
Brad Lanyon Asst. Director
Marion Lee Makeup
Frank Lipson Sound/Sound Designer
Kristian Moliere Producer
Simon Njoo Editor
Jonathan Page Executive Producer
Ross Perkin Set Decoration/Design
Peter D. Smith Sound Mixer
Michael Tear Executive Producer
Natalie Wall Casting
Heather Wallace Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Babadook
1. Chapter 1 [8:05]
2. Chapter 2 [9:14]
3. Chapter 3 [5:58]
4. Chapter 4 [:04]
5. Chapter 5 [5:22]
6. Chapter 6 [7:49]
7. Chapter 7 [9:22]
8. Chapter 8 [6:57]
9. Chapter 9 [9:14]
10. Chapter 10 [6:31]
11. Chapter 11 [7:08]
12. Chapter 12 [9:08]
13. Chapter 13 [5:15]
14. Chapter 14 [3:31]

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The Babadook 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
One of the better horror movies. The tension, creepy scenes, use of lighting and shadows is really good. Story also good.
GinaK More than 1 year ago
This is a splendid horror film that reminded me of Roman Polanski’s Repulsion in that it was horror based in madness and psychological truths and not in fake scares and other gimmicks. I was also not surprised to learn in the bonus features on the Blu-Ray that the director worked with Lars von Trier early in her career. I thought the ending was really creative and (again) psychologically true and the key to the entire film. Brilliant!
LaylaCD More than 1 year ago
As a life-long horror fan, I can be fairly jaded as I've seen almost everything. But this film is truly exceptional, and superb in all areas; writing, cinemaphotography, acting, lighting, production design...EVRYTHING...SEE IT!