Friday, 20 February 2015

the babadook

i sometimes suffer from insomnia. right now is one of those times. watching the babadook last night did not help.

the babadook is about a widow trying to raise her troubled 6 year old son. at the start of the film we learn that her husband died in a car crash as she was on her way to hospital to give birth. when we meet her she is already finding her son's behaviour difficult, but things get worse when he finds an odd picture book called mister babadook about a creepy dude who comes to get you, although it's not clear at first exactly what he will do when he does get you. that will come later.

i don't want to give too much away, because this film is amazing and the less you know going in, the better. it's written and directed by jennifer kent, based on her short film, monster -

kent does an amazing job building the suspense in this film. it reaches a point where i was dreading nightfall as much as the characters because bad things start to happen to them at night. on top of this the two main characters are perfectly set up and very well performed, to the point where i would've remained interested whether the monster turned up or not. but the monster does turn up, and at that point it becomes really, really scary.

there is a real mix of horror techniques in this film, from classic jump scares to more subtle, creepier moments and the combination of both creates an atmosphere of ever increasing dread. by the end of this film i was searching every shadow in the frame for signs of the babadook, and it's hard not to carry that out into the real world once the film has finished. had i been able to sleep i would've slept with the lights on.

at the same time this is a film about how we deal with tragedy in our lives and what we do with our personal monsters. it's a film about the pain of living and on that level it really works.

now part of me thinks i shouldn't make a big deal about the fact that it's directed by a woman because in a way it shouldn't matter, but fuck it, i'm going to make a big deal about it because it's an amazing film and jennifer kent deserves the praise. along with the soska sisters i think that with this one film she has instantly become one of the most important filmmakers working in the horror genre today. i hope she makes many more films like it and i hope she inspires other likeminded women to do the same.

if you didn't get it from the above, i'm saying you should go watch this film immediately. you will not regret it.

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