The Babadook

Rated: NR

        Although I told you months ago that I was done reviewing movies from the 2014 New Hampshire Film Festival, I’ve got one more to tell you about, The Babadook. As soon as I saw the trailer for this film and read the description of it in the film festival program I knew it was one I’d have to see no matter what. It was touted as one of the scariest movies, not only of the year, but ever made. Unfortunately though, I was unable to see it while it ran at the festival. You see, my husband doesn’t like horror movies. He tolerates the ones I make him watch, but he’s usually a long, long way from actually enjoying them. I worked hard to convince him to see it, and he reluctantly agreed. Then, while we were awaiting a showing of something else, The Babadook finished and the crowds came pouring out of the theater. Regrettably within seconds we were within earshot of most of the crowd, and heard them describing how terrifyingly wonderful the movie was and how they weren’t going to sleep tonight, etc. After hearing all of that my husband quickly decided that we would not be seeing The Babadook anytime soon.
        Six months after that I finally got my chance again. I was browsing through the new releases at Bull Moose in Portsmouth, NH and there was
The Babadook, screaming at me to take it off the shelf and bring it home. I promptly obeyed. Needless to say, my husband wasn’t thrilled with my selection, but after some prodding (about a week’s worth) I finally convinced him to “get it over with.”
The Babadook is another of those movies that is admittedly hard to describe. Not because it was deeply thought provoking, but because I don’t want to give too much away. Anyways, here’s my attempt, for better or worse: Single mother Amelia has had difficulty over the past 6 years in dealing both with the grief of losing her husband and with the ever present nightmares and obsession her young son Samuel has with monsters. After reading Samuel  the book The Babadook as a bedtime story one evening, Samuel’s obsession grows ever persistent and stronger, as Amelia fights to hold on to her sanity. But when Samuel’s nightmares begin to come true, Amelia begins to wonder if he was right all along.
         I had such high hopes for this film. Reading what the other critics have said about it, listening to what the general public thought about it and have written about it I expected so much more. To me,
The Babadook was a bit like popping an under-inflated balloon. You know there should be a loud pop because you’re popping a balloon, but all you get is that disappointing hiss. I really wanted this to be a great horror film! I honestly wanted to be scared stiff. Instead the only emotion I felt was pure and utter annoyance (which you’ll understand if you see it.) Now, you may be thinking that I’m just too desensitized to these sorts of things, but my husband wasn’t the least bit scared either, which I think sums up the disappointment quite nicely.

The Babadook is not rated, was written and directed by Jennifer Kent and stars Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman. It’s available now on DVD, Blu Ray and digital download.