This film is quite possibly one of the most talked about all year, the 5 star reviews across the board certainly grabbed my attention. 5 stars is often a hard rating to achieve, especially from the likes of Empire and even further than that for a horror film to obtain this rating is almost unheard of. The hype was massive, the trailers were scary, The Babadook was ready.
Unfortunately The Babadook falls victim to the ridiculous amount of hype that surrounded it (familiar story). To me it seemed that most hardcore horror fans were finding this film terrifying but coupled with this terror seemed to be a surprisingly solid plot. I honestly didn’t get it, now, it is this hype that is making me see this film in a negative light not the film itself. Firstly I have to say this is a good film and a good horror at that however it simply couldn’t live up to the reaction of critics and fans alike. Okay so The Babadook is scary, at times I had to look away however this is the same for me in almost every horror film I see. For instance I would have to say that I found last months Annabelle scarier. I didn’t really think that this film was that original either, there wasn’t that much that I wasn’t expecting throughout. There were all the standard build up scares and then the final reveal – it wasn’t as if the wheel was being re-invented in terms of horror here. I realise I am sounding harsh but it is the fault of those who have bigged it up to be something it is not. I am generally quite easy to please in terms of horror movies and to use the example of Annabelle again, I enjoyed it whilst most others didn’t. For me I gained a similar amount of enjoyment from the Babadook and thought it was a good movie, probably better than Annabelle in terms of plot, so I did like it and it does deserve praise. However it won’t keep you up at night like the taglines from reviews would suggest, if I am honest it is already fading from my memory. Most of the effective scares were featured in the trailer too, a common problem with horrors that I wish would be rectified soon.
The Babadook really only features the mother (Amelia) and son (Samuel), played by Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman. Both of these actors play they part very well but Wiseman does steal the show, his acting talents seem to surpass his years and was probably the most praise worthy element of the film. Something that I did pick up on though was how the film was able to bring just as much tension into the day as it could at night, I thought this was a great addition to the horror and took away that time of recovery after each night. What I thought was scarier than the Babadook itself was when Amelia became possessed and began attacking Samuel (verbally and physically). The story surrounding the character was a sad one and it was unpleasant to say the least watching a mother shout at her child saying that she wished he was dead etc. I also liked how this creature had an identity, that is something that is lacking in most horrors that feature a supernatural creature, here a story could be built around it and I thought the ending was the most original aspect of the whole movie.
So whilst I enjoyed The Babadook, its couple of original elements and the superb performances from the lead actors it simply underwhelmed me as a result of the ridiculous hype. I can’t understand why The Babadook is getting so much praise while other horrors; Annabelle, Oculus to name a few get torn to shreds. I can’t find the distinction, its a shame though because this hype has dented my experience of what was a really solid horror movie.
BIGGEST FLAW – I would have liked to have some more motive here
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – The performance of young wiseman
Rating – 8/10