Thursday, 6 November 2014

The Babadook - The scoop and digest

Dying Breed, Wolf Creek, The Loved Ones, Rogue and The Horseman are all great Australian exports.

Heard of this one?

The majority will shake heads.

Before serving the meat, let me pour genesis.

Jennifer Kent's feature length directorial debut stems from her own 2005 b/w horror short Monster, with closet villain (Trash Vaudeville) boasting a superb name.

If it's in a word.
Or it's in a look.
You can't get rid of...
The Babadook.

Catchy, right?

Plot details and/or spoilers are expected to scare.

Learning fantasy is far from friendly include:

Essie Davis - Amelia
Noah Wieseman - Samuel
Benjamin Winspear - Oskar
Tim Purcell - The Babadook

Since the death of her husband Oskar, Amelia has struggled to bring up bothersome son Samuel.

During a bedtime story, mummy bear reads a mysterious pop-up book entitled 'Mister Babadook'.

Full of unpleasant sketches and disturbing poetry, showing this on Jackanory would instigate a flurry of complaints.

Soon after, Samuel becomes convinced that the Babadook is real.

Growing sick and tired of an overactive imagination, she rips up the guts of paper and gives the bin a meal.

(Silly cow).

Remember how Annabelle reacted to such a rejection...

After answering the door several times to 'nobody', she finds the repaired book on doorstep.

New verses describing how the monster thrives on denial and gruesome premonitions depicting murder understandably leads her to burn book burn.

(Stupid bitch).

During a disturbance downstairs, she shares an embrace with Oskar whose benevolence transforms into malevolence.

When trying to get some much needed shut eye, a silhouette hovers above and takes the opportunity to enter Amelia's mouth.

Samuel feels the brunt of general abuse and as foretold, she snaps the dog's neck like a twig.

Not wanting to go the same way, he stabs and leads her down to a trap filled basement where she is knocked sparko.

Regaining consciousness and breaking free from restraints, she manages to vomit the black substance up.

Samuel feels the force and for his troubles, is taken for a ride.

As the Babadook slowly emerges, Amelia's threats for it not to harm him are enough to make the monster collapse quicker than a jelly on a wet mattress.

Its spirit retreats and takes five in the basement.

Some time later, a bowl of worms is prepared for the Babadook to 'eat' and Samuel finally enjoys a birthday party.

In short, sleeper horror hit of the year.

Courtesy of Kickstarter, not a cent is spared from a budget of just over $30,000.

Predictably, effects are minimalist but very effective.  Buckets of blood are discarded in favour of skillfully staged shocks that unnerve with alarming accuracy.

The sequence of flicking through the rewritten Mister Babadook and unexpected hallucination of Samuel's bloodied body are standout moments that freaked me the fuck out.

Essie delivers an excellent performance and kudos must be also handed to whippersnapper Wieseman, who takes the traumatic situation on the chin.

Babadook's distorted voice is reminiscent of The Shining and 'Redrum', with monster smacking of the Creeper from Jeepers Creepers fame.

There is however, something very sinister about the whole affair.

We'll never know if it's directly lifted or coincidence but the book is even burned, just like footage and Super 8 camera in Scott Derrickson's supernatural creep fest.

Regardless of comparison, this brims with psychological menace and brooding suspense, ensuring mince pies will be thoroughly engrossed from beginning to end.

America - leave it be or a friend of mine will 'dook dook dook' on your door...

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