Single mother Amelia (Essie Davis), plagued by the violent death of her husband, struggles with her son Samuel’s (Noah Wiseman) fear of a monster lurking in the house. A sinister presence begins to haunt the two after the mysterious arrival of a book in the youngster’s bedroom called Mr. Babadook, about a monster that lurks in the shadows. Soon Amelia seems to feel the effect of the sinister “Babadook” and tries desperately (in vain) to get rid of the book.
“If it’s in a word. Or it’s in a look. You can’t get rid of … The Babadook”
It should be noted from the outset that The Babadook is not some silly urban legend movie, nor is it the kind of horror which is heavy on the “blood for bloods sake”. It is however a fantastic psychological horror. The plot focuses on the more human element of the tale and mostly concerns Amelia finding a way to overcome Samuel’s behavioural issues and her struggle to live normally, rather than dealing with the whole supernatural threat of The Babadook monster. Some horror fans may be turned off by the fact this movie is a psychological slow burn and the scares are not spoon fed or of the “ooogadaboogada” jump-scare-bleed variety. Its more psychological drama than supernatural horror.
The performances of the two leads are phenomenal. Although the character of Samuel is more than a little annoying at the best of times (deliberately so, I think), the tortured anxiety and fear portrayed by Noah Wiseman on screen is outstanding. Essie Davis really embraces the character of Amelia, making her fear, depression and shifting madness all visibly genuine and moving. The sadness beneath those regular troubling days that Amelia encounters and her continuous struggle with personal grief bring out the real heart of the picture.
I love being pleasantly surprised by Australian film and found that “The Babadook” stayed with me long after a finished watching. It won’t be for everyone (its slow pace and lack of typical gruesome horror style blood and gore seems to have disappointed quite a lot of people on imdb) but if you like good Australian drama and don’t mind a bit of a head fuck then you will definitely enjoy “The Babadook”.