The Babadook – Film Review

Depending on the manner in which one approaches the act of reading fairy tale books, they can take on a somewhat chilling quality. Just imagine, Hansel and Gretel, who threw the witch into the oven, attempting to burn her alive; the witch who tried to kill the princess with an apple; the wolf who devoured Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother… The Babadook is also a fairy tale book but does not hide behind a charming world. It is genuinely unsettling, openly revealing its intentions. The Babadook, chosen as the film of the year in Australia alongside The Water Diviner, deserves all the accolades it received in 2014, earning its place on lists of the year’s best films with its original concept and superb acting.

Let’s briefly touch upon the plot… Samuel is a troubled child, excessively hyperactive, perhaps due to growing up without a father. He faces difficulties due to the loss of his father at a young age, and his mother, Amelia, must care for him on her own. Amelia, burdened with both making ends meet and dealing with Samuel, is an exhausted woman. The film begins with Amelia reading a random fairy tale book she pulls from the library shelf in an attempt to put Samuel to sleep. The content of this fairy tale book, named The Babadook, is horrifying. Amelia can only read this book up to a certain point because its intentions are painfully clear. However, even reading a portion of the book triggers disturbances in the household.

In an independent, Australian film, a single mother (Essie Davis) and her troubled young son (Noah Wiseman) are terrorized by a mysterious character from a children’s book called Mister Babadook.

Amelia, struggling to both support her household and control her child’s behavior, also deals with strange sounds at night and bizarre occurrences. Over time, everything described in the book starts to happen one by one. The conflict between whether the malevolent character from the book, Babadook, or her hyperactive son is the real menace begins to escalate, intensifying the tension to its core.

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In a year like 2014, when we experienced a shortage of good horror films, a film like The Babadook feels like a remedy. It’s a well-crafted film with compelling, suspenseful scenes, exceptional acting, and an original plot that will become a collector’s item. While initially following the story of a woman living alone with her son, it gradually transforms from the theme of fatherlessness to loneliness and the depression it brings. The dark protagonist of the fairy tale book exploits this family’s vulnerability, embedding itself in their hearts.

Director Jennifer Kent deserves special mention. She wrote the screenplay herself and skillfully directed the film, never allowing the pace to drop, avoiding unnecessary drama and keeping the suspense fresh. She can surprise us at any moment with an attraction or keep our curiosity alive with fictional mind games. With her first feature-length experience, the director has delivered a highly successful work and declared her presence with the 56 awards the film has won.

In summary… The Babadook is a genuinely successful horror film that deserves all the awards it has received. With its strong performances, well-placed suspenseful scenes, impactful conclusion, and solid screenplay, it has already secured a place among the unforgettable films of 2014 in my opinion. The Babadook is one of those rare horror films that keeps you on edge every second, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone.

Cast & Crew

director: Jennifer Kent

writers: Jennifer Kent

starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman



Ukrainian Creative Director | Motion Picture Writer | Horror Freak

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