The Babadook (2014)


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The Babadook (2014) – horror film review

So thirty years after its original release I finally sat down and watched Australian horror The Babadook. Well, okay it wasn’t really thirty years, but it felt like it – it was actually closer to six months.

And after much anticipation – “the scariest film ever made!” – I didn’t want to build it up too much because often that just leads to disappointment. So I didn’t read many reviews and I didn’t look up anything. I just waited until…..well I was ready to scare the shit out of myself I suppose.

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Anyway, the story appears fairly simple – Amelia is a widow and single mother, struggling to keep things together as she brings up her difficult young son Samuel and works in a care home – all the time still mourning for her good looking husband who died whilst she was in labour with Samuel.

To make this already unhappy situation just that bit more unhappy, Samuel is an odious child who screeches, kicks and has an obsession with monsters and weapons. He’s not even particularly pleasant to look at. I’m sure he’s sweet in real life, but in the film he is a loud, draining child who pulls some damn weird facial expressions.

And I wasn’t being shallow when I mentioned the good looking husband earlier. It’s almost like a darkly unfunny joke – good looking husband dies, horrible kid stays.

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So the household is not the happiest and has rather a lonely feel. They are struggling and don’t have much help from family or friends. There is emphasis put on Amelia and Samuel being isolate and alone. It’s a daaaaark film maaaaan – both literally and figuratively – I’d even go as far as to say it’s slightly depressing.

But I don’t want to give too much away. Most films are best watched with as little knowledge as possible and I mean unless you’ve been living in space or inside a submarine for the last six months you will know they find a book and then the creepy, old Mister Babadook makes an appearance in their home, hiding in the shadows and terrifying them both.

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So did I like The Babadook? Yes very much – I was glued to the screen and definitely thought it was highly original and extremely well written. But did I think it was the most terrifying film ever, ever, ever, ever, ever made? No. But it was still scary.

In places the film felt more horrible than anything but I guess everyone will their own view and in fact I’d wager it won’t even appeal to everyone. No joke it almost felt a bit ‘arty’ in places and I’m not saying that in a pretentious way because I’d take an Eli Roth horror over arty any day (and I still liked it).

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All in all, I’d recommend this film very highly. Any fan of horror – well it goes without saying you NEED TO WATCH THIS – but don’t expect a run-of-the-mill things that go bump in the night kinda set up. The Babadook actually has a lot more to offer – if you decide to let him in.

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About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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75 Responses to The Babadook (2014)

  1. table9mutant says:

    Emma! I’m going to try to keep on top of things & try to read posts when they’re actually in the Reader on my app since catching up on my phone later on is impossible! Ugh! Sorry I missed that you’d reviewed this. Glad you enjoyed it although I think I liked it more than you did. 🙂 I didn’t find it “scary” but the psychological aspects were very disturbing. I still think it’s a brilliant film with amazing acting. Great review! I hope to catch your reviews more often. 🙂 Do you have a specific time you tend to post or do you do it at random?

    • emmakwall says:

      Not at all, not at all! I am hideous at keeping in touch on here sometimes so please don’t apologise. It can be really tough posting stuff, commenting other people, replying to comments, twitter etc. It’s brilliant and I love everyone so much but it’s tough keeping up!!!!

      I post any old time! I don’t plan anything haha. I don’t plan what I’m writing or when I’ll post, I just think of something and then I do it! Probably why I can’t keep up ha ha.

      I thought The Babadook was a brilliantly refreshing movie, not what I expected, but I was glad it wasn’t what I expected (if that makes sense!) It was disturbing and ever so tense and I thought the parallels with their relationship and the mother’s mental health was really good! It would never be “an all time” favourite or anything but it was great and I’d highly recommend to everyone! I am still surprised it got so many “scariest movie ever” claims though. Insidous scared me more and I’m not kidding. The Babadook was more…..horrible.

      • table9mutant says:

        That’s how I did things at first – posted whatever & whenever I felt like it. 🙂 Then I got all anal & now I have to post only at noon on weekdays! Lol. I really hope we get more horror films that are like The Babadook. 🙂

        • emmakwall says:

          Me too! We need more Babadooks 🙂

          It’s probably a good idea to have some semblance of schedule to posts because regular readers can look out for them I suppose! I’m just terribly lazy lol!!!

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  3. Great review. I’m actually not a huge fan of horror movies, but I did enjoy this film a lot. I think this is perhaps because, like you said, it had a bit more of a psychological and arty feel than the norm.

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks so much Jonathan!

      I’m glad someone else thought it was a bit ‘arty’ in places 🙂 the use of the room and the darkness in the room – was definitely a bit arty!

      I thought it was a great film 🙂

  4. Natasha says:

    Great review Emma!

    Ugh, that kid is exactly why I don’t like kids… creepy as fuck.

    I would like to watch this eventually in a brightly lit room surrounded by lots of people. Yep, I have the heart of a lion 😀

    • emmakwall says:

      Haha, sounds similar to me! I swear I was having heart palpitations as I put the DVD player on ha ha!

      Haha, creepy kids are the worst!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Village of the Damned freaked me out soooo much when I was a kid ha ha ha.

      Thanks so much Natasha 🙂

  5. Laura says:

    Great review. And ‘odious’ is such a good word. I loved this one but was glad I saw it before hearing too much about it, I think that would’ve definitely hampered my enjoyment. (Not sure ‘enjoyment’ is the right word, but you know what I mean!)

    • emmakwall says:

      Haha, it is isn’t it! “odious!” (I just said that in a snobby, posh voice!)

      Yes I completely agree! I prefer to watch without knowing too much. I took a while to watch it but purposefully didn’t read too much about it! I’m glad I didn’t as I knew nothing about the mental health aspect so it was all a pleasant surprise!

      And I’m not sure ‘pleasant surprise’ is the right phrase ha ha but you know what I mean too 🙂 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed it too!

      Thanks Laura!!!

  6. Renlau Outil says:

    I saw this at the cinema. A fairly rare statement from me these days. I didn’t realise it was supposed to be that scary, otherwise I wouldn’t have taken my 15-year-old son – who likes horror, but not too frightening. I was surprised at the fright level and also gripped by the darkness and the rawness of the mother’s deeply ambivalent feeling towards parenthood. It was a beautifully composed work that resonated powerfully with me for some time. It really cuts deep in terms of loss and dark Freudian confusion. I’m not sure you could make this straight, only via genre filmmaking, which is just one more reason why genre fiction – film and book – is so vital. Also, I don’t think a bloke could’ve made this. If he had, he’d be in trouble.

    Lastly, I’m not sure it’s that well known even now, after all these months. I had to explain all about it to a friend just the other day.

    Great review, btw

    • emmakwall says:

      I know what you mean, I prefer watching films at home generally!

      Thanks for your comment it was very interesting to read. I agree with all your comments and it resonated with me for a long time too. I couldn’t stop thinking about it! But not in the usual ‘I’m scared’ way. I really did find it quite disturbing.

      Interesting theory about a bloke not being able to make this, I like that! 🙂

      Thanks very much for your comment!

  7. Didn’t hate this one, but didn’t love it, either. I reviewed it on my blog too if you’re interested 🙂

  8. movierob says:

    great review! definitely not for me tho,,, 🙂

  9. Jay says:

    Oh man. It sounds so good and yet I just can’t do scary movies. They need to release highly edited versions with spoiler subtitles for me.

    • emmakwall says:

      Haha, what like – “hide your eyes now – shit is going down!!!”

      It’s very good. If ever you get the desire to push yourself and watch a scary film…this is the one!

  10. Awesome review Emma! I’ve been wanting to see this anyway, and now I HAVE to see it! I love your new header too☺️☺️☺️ Email coming if not today, tomorrow😘😘😘😘

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks Miss Kim ❤

      Oh it's very good, I think you will really enjoy it!!! Thanks for saying you like the header too 🙂 thought I needed something a bit more fun on display!

      Ditto my friend – email on its way soon 🙂

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