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View Full Version : The Babadook (Jennifer Kent)



Henry Gale
12-03-2014, 02:23 AM
http://content8.flixster.com/movie/11/18/11/11181166_800.jpg

IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2321549/) / Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Babadook)

megladon8
12-03-2014, 03:18 AM
Everyone I know who has seen this has only had glowing things to say about it.

I am freaking dying to see it.

Ivan Drago
12-03-2014, 04:22 AM
I want to see this so freakin' bad.

EvilShoe
12-03-2014, 06:39 AM
I feel like this is the movie I wanted Mama to be.

Spun Lepton
12-03-2014, 04:33 PM
William Friedkin gushed over it.

http://insidemovies.ew.com/2014/12/02/exorcist-director-says-the-babadook-is-terrifying/

Henry Gale
12-03-2014, 08:10 PM
It's a pretty great piece of work. Just really, consistently potent with its mix of nicely varied horror, endless building dread and then its surprising form of undeniable beauty that comes out of it, with the excellent lead performance from Essie Davis anchoring her character perfectly between the film's grounded, wounded character emotions with its fantastical terror.

Probably more genuinely, grippingly scary than any movie from the last bunch of years I can really think of, with the awesomely classical construction of a protagonist's biggest fears being personified / irrationally materialized in the form of what's haunting them, being forced to confront it in its most extreme form, which plays with one of the more frightening ideas for any film you follow one person's point-of-view of losing control, agency and sense of time, all finding a way to lead to those unexpected emotional wallops (which may or may not have been directly due to vulnerable the horror already made me).

As much as the theatre experience is usually my default answer for being able to see anything the best way (especially the first time), this is absolutely the perfect film to watch by yourself, lights out, as loud as you can without any foreseeable distractions. I just can't promise you'll sleep too easy afterwards. (And that's coming from someone who shakes off most films in this sprawling genre-- no matter how viscerally effective or truly well-made they may be -- pretty effortlessly.) It's not perfect, and some of the creature elements are a bit questionable (which considering its budget, I can forgive most of), but this still might just improve in my mind over time, and hopefully it does, since it feels a bit wrong already sitting outside of my Top 15 or so of the year.

***1/2 / 8.6

ciaoelor
12-04-2014, 12:52 AM
This is gonna be showing in Miami from Dec 19th to the 23rd in one of our art-house theaters that actually has a pretty big screen. I'm so excited :)

Ivan Drago
12-04-2014, 05:11 AM
It's coming to my neck of the woods next Friday. I'm fucking stoked.

megladon8
12-13-2014, 07:16 AM
Freakin' fantastic.

megladon8
12-13-2014, 07:33 PM
So yeah this was really great. Accomplished direction and two wonderful lead performances. Loved the sense of dread that built throughout the entire running time. Very effective stuff.

How do others feel about the ending? Was it happy?

While it had the appearance of being a happy conclusion, I have this lingering feeling that it's actually kind of awful. Amelia, in accepting her husband's death, has also merely accepted the circumstances of her life. I feel like she ended the film content in defeat - she will never have another relationship, will never truly "live" again. She must "settle" in her life as a mother.

The film is filled with very complex emotions, and these are brought to life beautifully by both the filmmaking and the acting.


On a side note, watching a movie on a laptop sucks. This movie is never coming to Ottawa, and a co-worker mentioned he had downloaded a DVD screener of it. He put it on a thumb drive for me, but it will not play on my TV.

I HATE downloading movies and the practice of doing so, so I hope I at least partially redeem myself with the fact that I pre-ordered the BluRay before even watching it.

Dead & Messed Up
12-13-2014, 08:46 PM
Whoo! I'll be seeing it tomorrow. Can't wait.

Dead & Messed Up
12-14-2014, 09:45 PM
Yeah, good flick.

Regarding the ending, meg,

I took it to be mostly happy. The idea behind the film seems to be that the Babadook is symbolic of grief, and the ending suggests that you can't really banish or erase grief, you can only accept it and overcome its control over you. I wouldn't rule out future relationships or happiness in her role. But I do think she'd wait a good long while before showing her boyfriend what's in her basement. The same way I'd wait a while before discussing a tragedy in my life with someone I'm seeing.

I do think that, after watching this film, Oculus, and The Taking of Deborah Logan in relatively quick succession, I need a break from loved-ones-gone-bad-possibly-through-supernatural-means-and-representing-very-real-despair.

Irish
12-15-2014, 04:39 AM
I watched this a few weeks ago & thought about it & apparently came here & rated it & now find myself a little surprised I went "nay."

Ezee E
12-15-2014, 08:06 AM
Terrifying, and the scariest movie since The Descent for me.

I'm tired now, but lots more to talk about. One of the best of the year.

Dead & Messed Up
12-15-2014, 08:38 AM
I need to know what channel she gets that's showing all those thematically relevant public domain films. I have a soft spot for that kind of shit in a movie like this. Melies, Iwerks, Herk Harvey, loving it.

megladon8
12-15-2014, 02:31 PM
For me the most chilling moment in the whole film was when the Babadook (in the physical form of her husband) says to her "you can give me the boy".

Not "give me the boy".

"You can give me the boy"

She at best resents and at worst hates her son. How terrifying for a mother to be presented with the opportunity to get rid of her child (dooming him to certain death) and for her to be enticed by this possibility.

Irish
12-15-2014, 03:00 PM
She at best resents and at worst hates her son. How terrifying for a mother to be presented with the opportunity to get rid of her child (dooming him to certain death) and for her to be enticed by this possibility.

Yes! These were, for me, the parts that worked the best. She's exhausted, he's severely fucking annoying :lol:. The central relationship is key to the entire movie. I loved that, because it seems so rare in genre films.

At the end my heart kinda broke when shes lying on the floor, half possessed & beaten up & he walks over and says something like, "We're supposed to look out for each other, Mom".

EvilShoe
12-15-2014, 04:19 PM
Has everyone seen the original short?


http://vimeo.com/39042148

megladon8
12-15-2014, 05:19 PM
Yes! These were, for me, the parts that worked the best. She's exhausted, he's severely fucking annoying :lol:. The central relationship is key to the entire movie. I loved that, because it seems so rare in genre films.

At the end my heart kinda broke when shes lying on the floor, half possessed & beaten up & he walks over and says something like, "We're supposed to look out for each other, Mom".

Me too. There were a couple of effectively tear-jerky moments towards the end, with that being a big one.

I thought both of their performances were great.

Irish
12-15-2014, 05:23 PM
I thought both of their performances were great.

Likewise. That little kid was incredible. I hated him for most of the movie but at the end, I was pulling for him and cheered when he broke out his homemade gear & used it. And I was afraid for him. He seemed so tiny and vulnerable in some of those moments.

I really need to see this again.

Ezee E
12-15-2014, 05:27 PM
Thanks for posting, Evilshoe!

So literally the only problem I have with the movie is some of the Home Alone antics at the end. I can look past it, but for the preluding scenes that were so terrifying, it lost some of its effect when the mother kept falling everywhere. Plus, some lines lifted straight from The Shining.

But, is this not the most psychological terrifying movie, ever? At least in the 2000s. Meg's discussed scene, the slow decline of the house, the voice of the Babadook.... Wow.

What a way to incorporate many different fears together. Whether it be the way life progresses, physical fear of the dark, or knowing that you are going insane, but too afraid to admit to others and not able to get the help you need.

The unease it gives viewers may make it too uncomfortable to watch for some people. I figure that's why it never got a full on theater release.

Ezee E
12-15-2014, 05:28 PM
The movie is quite smart in making the kid so annoying at first, but knows as viewers that we'll eventually sympathize for him, but not without some annoyance for him still at the final scene!

Ivan Drago
12-17-2014, 05:25 AM
This was the first movie to scare me enough that I was gripping the seat in front of me.

Between this and both VHS movies, my faith in the horror genre has been revitalized.

number8
12-19-2014, 03:15 PM
I honestly think this is a crowning achievement in horror filmmaking. Most horror these days place a lot of the scares in the frame: either with CG effects, or creepy looking dolls/figures/people, or framing empty static space in a way to build suspense. This movie, however, doesn't have a lot of scares going that are shown and instead generates a lot of its creepiness in the way the camera moves and how it follows the actors, the jarring editing, the sound design, and also in how it keeps shifting our perspective from the mother to the kid and back to create this anxiousness. It's pure craft and very impressive.

Pop Trash
12-20-2014, 08:23 PM
I honestly think this is a crowning achievement in horror filmmaking. Most horror these days place a lot of the scares in the frame: either with CG effects, or creepy looking dolls/figures/people, or framing empty static space in a way to build suspense. This movie, however, doesn't have a lot of scares going that are shown and instead generates a lot of its creepiness in the way the camera moves and how it follows the actors, the jarring editing, the sound design, and also in how it keeps shifting our perspective from the mother to the kid and back to create this anxiousness. It's pure craft and very impressive.

I haven't seen this, but these are the best kinds of horror films. Exactly the reasons why I liked The Strangers, The Conjuring, and The Descent.

Scar
12-21-2014, 01:39 AM
I'll try it again, but, eh, I don't know.

transmogrifier
12-21-2014, 09:58 AM
I'll try it again, but, eh, I don't know.

I liked it well enough, but it is really blunt and obvious in its subtext. It's well directed, but it doesn't have much meat on its bones. And I didn't think it was scary at all, because it was so obvious what was happening.

dreamdead
01-01-2015, 05:24 PM
I found this one more unsettling than scary, which is certainly a layer of horror, just a different one than I expected. Davis is solid here, and working an entirely different register than in Miss Fisher's..., and Kent's structure allows for a more overt subtext, so I didn't especially mind this.

Instead, I found some of the child's acting mannerisms to be too off to truly register. There are moments, such as his early freakout in the car, where it didn't quite feel pitched at the right level. Also, once it reaches its third act and the Babadook morphs into its real threat, a lot of the unsettling design that Kent achieves through the first two-thirds of the film start to deteriorate into a more typical film.

That said, a lot of the design choices and structure are good, and it's massively more interesting than typical horror films even when it hits the third act shift.

Gittes
03-18-2015, 03:29 AM
Instead, I found some of the child's acting mannerisms to be too off to truly register. There are moments, such as his early freakout in the car, where it didn't quite feel pitched at the right level.

Yeah. He improves in the latter half of the film, when the tantrums begin to subside. His expressions of horror and dismay scan as more authentic.



At the end my heart kinda broke when shes lying on the floor, half possessed & beaten up & he walks over and says something like, "We're supposed to look out for each other, Mom".

Yes. The complexity and novelty of the mother-son relationship is one of the film's greatest virtues. Another example: when the magician hand gesture from the beginning of the film comes back into play near the end, during that same pivotal scene, it was very affecting.

Gittes
03-18-2015, 03:35 AM
Small criticism: the repeated use of some kind of dinosaur roar sound effect was a really ill-advised bit of foley work. I read somewhere that the effect in question is from the Godzilla films, but I'm not sure if that's true.

TGM
04-16-2015, 02:16 AM
Hrm, this was okay I suppose. I think both Oculus and It Follows are significantly better examples of good modern horror movies, though.

D_Davis
05-14-2015, 08:40 PM
What a wretched film. No dramatic drive and no momentum. Just that same thing over and over again. The scares were laughable and it was totally confused in its themes. Absolutely terrible and totally amateur. One of the worst films I've seen in recent memory.

Watashi
05-14-2015, 09:29 PM
To be fair Davis, how many films have you seen in the last 5 years? Like two?

Winston*
05-14-2015, 09:29 PM
Loved it.

D_Davis
05-14-2015, 09:54 PM
To be fair Davis, how many films have you seen in the last 5 years? Like two?


3. Maybe 4.

Dukefrukem
05-16-2015, 07:10 PM
Watched it on Netflix last night. Terrified me.

TGM
07-22-2016, 02:44 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-nknT3VnNE&feature=youtu.be&a

Skitch
07-22-2016, 11:32 AM
The scares and construction was well done, but I hated every single character. A lot of the choices the characters made constantly had me going, "Whaaaaaa?? Who would do that??" And yes, I "get" the metaphor of the film.

Dead & Messed Up
07-23-2016, 04:17 AM
The scares and construction was well done, but I hated every single character. A lot of the choices the characters made constantly had me going, "Whaaaaaa?? Who would do that??" And yes, I "get" the metaphor of the film.

But Skitch, if you dig deeper, there's a really cool metaphor about grief.

Irish
07-23-2016, 06:25 AM
Yes! I'm no longer that only "nay" vote!

Skitch
07-23-2016, 11:21 AM
The mom is quite possibly the worst parent of all time.

Spinal
12-02-2016, 06:19 AM
I like the first page of this thread a lot better than the second page.

After I saw The Shining recently, I read that one of Stephen King's criticisms of Kubrick's film is that, by casting Jack Nicholson, you know from scene one that he's going to go nuts. And so it kills some of his intended horror in seeing a basically decent person lose control. I kept thinking about that as I was watching the last half hour of this movie and marveling at how Kent and Essie Davis get that part right. Extraordinary performance. Yes, the kid is annoying, but that is purposeful! It fuels Amelia's emotions and struggle to be a decent mother. I thought this was just about perfect.

Dukefrukem
12-02-2016, 01:28 PM
That's a really great analogy Spinal.

Ezee E
12-02-2016, 05:59 PM
Whoo hoo, I was on the first page.

Morris Schæffer
10-31-2020, 11:47 AM
The mom is quite possibly the worst parent of all time.

Which is kind of the point I believe. I thought the movie was scary and atmospheric and tremendously Well acted, although its visualization of grief and how that never goes away somewhat on the nose, espesh come the final scenes.

DFA1979
02-26-2021, 10:48 PM
Crap review of it I wrote back in 2015 that I still agree with: https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/horrorfest-2015-presents-the-babadook-2014-jennifer-kent/