Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Deep Cuts #2: The Babadook




(Just in time for Halloween, the "Deep Cuts" series highlights horror films I think deserve a little more recognition. Not to say they're obscure by any means-- most are major releases-- I just want to give them a little more love is all. Enjoy!)

Index of all "Deep Cuts" entries, updated as they're posted

The Babadook
Australian, 2014, d. Jennifer Kent

Quite simply one of the best horror films in recent memory. Smart, lean, scary as hell and refreshingly female in perspective. We need more movies like this!



This film taps into a variety of accessible anxieties as a single mother tries to cope with the stress of raising a son and dealing with career demands. The appearance of a creepy children's book in the house heralds the arrival of a dark, enigmatic spirit that must be reckoned with. Sleep deprivation doesn't help. Things get very bad, and... well, I don't want to spoil anything.



"The Babadook" is marked by economical storytelling. The writing is understated, the editing tight, the music and sound design often choked by the impact of a visual element; we're in a thwarted and deprived world.



The monster terrifies quite well, all the more so because we never see it in person nearly as clearly as we do in the book. The resolution of the story is also (paradoxically, as you'll see) very satisfying.



And it's refreshing for a film with this tone to revolve around a woman's concerns, not those of a fantasy action hero or helpless victim but of someone who exists in the everyday: modes from career frustration to concern with child care to primal fear to a capacity for heinous violence come into play, all with subtlety and restraint. I can't say enough good things about this movie-- I think it represents the future of horror films. Get thee to streaming Netflix! It awaits you there.

imdb listing

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