Film Review - The Babadook
Years on. Still chained to the difficult process of moving on. Aussie Amelia’s (Essie Davis) duties assisting patients on a psychiatric ward represent a poignant irony of her own mental capacity. Remaining deeply troubled after the tragic death of her husband, the strain on her relationship with her son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) is palpable, whose bizarre behaviour inspired by his fascination with the fantastical has only increased the concern of his esteemed educators.
Here, the monstrous prominence of its supernatural villain stylistically paying homage to the likes of Nosferatu, is a poignant vessel for the exploration of everyday themes such as crippling grief and lingering loneliness. Thus driving the film to have the emotional punch it possesses, rather than the eerie atmospherics and impeccable sound design that aid its impressive scares. Scattering proceedings with peculiar snippets of televisual terror as the grim colour palette remains constant, director Kent is undeterred in her focus to give top billing to the compelling and chilling depth of its central relationship.
In turn disarmingly innocuous and haunting as he becomes consumed by the fear of potentially losing both parents, Noah Wiseman’s Samuel is a remarkable big-screen showing beyond his early years. The progression of Essie Davis’ character Amelia is far greater in its subtlety. Beginning as a sleep-deprived, softly spoken maternal figure, unravelling into an hysterical, unhinged mess, her performance is exceptional within such genre realms.
The minor imperfections of its close a forgivable gripe, The Babadook is a brilliantly acted, well-sustained chiller, that proves refreshing and deeply affecting in its superior approach to an age-old concept.
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Image courtesy of IMDb.