I can't say that I've seen any Australian horror films. I've heard of 'Wolf Creek' and I've seen the 'SAW' short film, if those count, I suppose. This is much like me not having seen a film from New Zealand, before I watched 'Housebound.' I originally was going to do another film to close out this week of "spooky" reviews. But when I saw this, I knew I wanted to go out with reviewing it. 'The Babadook' is one of those films I've been hearing a lot about. 'The Babadook' is a pretty good watch as well. It's pretty creepy throughout and is actually a pretty great story.
'The Babadook' follows the story of single mother, Amelia (Essie Davis), after the death of her husband. He is killed as they get into a car crash on the way to the hospital to have their child. Her son, Samuel (Noah Wieseman), has been having a ton of problems dealing with the fear of a monster lurking in their home. Amelia is miserably working at a nursing home. While Samuel is struggling in his school to stay out of trouble. One night, Ameila reads a bedtime story to Samuel called, 'Mister Babadook.' Which promptly scares the hell out of the kid. The next day, Claire (Hayley McElhinney), Ameila's sister, is looking after Samuel and is disturbed by him constantly talking to "something invisible called The Babadook." One night, after Amelia finds mysterious pieces glass in her soup, the wardrobe in Samuel's room almost falls on him. She rips apart the book and then goes to bed. Things begin to grow even more tense between the two, Samuel becomes increasingly violent and strange things begin to happen to them. 'Mister Babadook' is presumed to be just a story, but Amelia and Samuel are learning otherwise firsthand.
Horror movies are supposed to be fun, they're supposed to make you go "What the f---" out loud and, most of all, they're supposed to creep you out. 'The Babadook' is one of those films that hits all of those requirements. There's some jump scares sure, but there's a genuine sense of creepiness surrounding this film and story. Mysterious figures, a terrorized family and psychological scares abound in this film. They're all done pretty well. The story is pretty original overall. It falls prey to horror cliches at times, but does a good job of keeping the viewer engaged. I always thought that children's books can be some of the creepiest things and this film reaffirms it. A creepy pop up book depicting the death of the two main characters, would creep the shit out of me as well. The acting in this is pretty good. Samuel is played well by young Noah Wieseman. You can feel the fear and apprehension as the film wears on. He's probably one of my favorite parts of the film. Amelia, played by Essie Davis, also does an outstanding job throughout as well. The mom at the end of her rope, being terrorized by a supernatural being. The dread of Amelia descending into madness is pretty fun to watch. Also, side note, the lines from Samuel are unintentionally hilarious. Whenever he starts yelling or is having a heated back and forth with someone, his child-like candor is pretty damn funny. The film clocks in at an hour and a half, but it never feels longs and I quite enjoyed myself. There wasn't really any draggy or out of place scenes either. The good use of stock footage really surprised me and the music and score are done well too.
'The Babadook' really does live up to the praise that I've heard for it. It's one of the better horror films of the year and should be seen if you're a fan of the genre. There's a lot of psychological horror, a great story, some laughs throughout and a generally creepy feeling all around. I generally like most horror films, no matter how underwhelming they may be, but 'The Babadook' is a pretty good film all around regardless. You should check it out if you're ever in need of a spook.