(directed by Jennifer Kent, 2014)
**** (out of 5)
> Australian actress Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut is a taut, truly scary psychological horror-thriller that sure kept my attention! No cheap thrills here, just genuine slowburn chills, that make this among the best in the genre. It just doesn’t feel derivative and the acting is very good.
. A troubled child becomes obsessed with the threat of monsters in the night, anxieties that may be caused by losing his father on the day of his birth. He fashions himself a monster-hunter and vows to “protect” his increasingly exasperated mother, but his behavior is causing trouble at school and in the family. One night, he is given the option of choosing the bedtime story, and he picks a handmade pop-up book that just kind of appeared in his bookshelf. “The Babadook”. Mom isn’t far into reading it aloud before she begins to worry that the book may feed these fears instead of exorcising them- worries that are borne out in spades. Unwittingly, it would appear that they have let something supernatural and decidedly malevolent into their lives. (“You can’t get rid of the Babadook!”)
. Generally, horror is just not my genre- but man was this a good film! The intensity steadily ratcheted up to a fever pitch and the payoff, a triumph of love over fear with a decidedly creepy twist- was very satisfying indeed. Just writing this review sends chills up my arms to the keyboard!
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