Monday, 27 October 2014

The Babadook (4½ Stars)

Based on the advance reviews, this Australian horror film has taken the film industry by storm. The prestigious magazine Empire, which is a lot more stingy with its ratings than I am, awarded it five stars in its last issue. That made me sit up and take notice. The film trailer looked like a typical modern horror film, nothing out of the ordinary, and the name? "Babadook"? That sounds like a children's babbling. The name alone would have kept me away from the cinema, if not for the praise that has been heaped on the film.

After seeing the film, I wouldn't say that it's original. I don't say that as a criticism, I'm just contradicting other reviewers. A film doesn't have to be original to be good, especially not in an established genre like horror. The film reminds me of "The Shining","The Exorcist" and to a lesser extent "Candyman".

I'll say very little about the plot. Actually, very little happens, even if I were to give a full description. It's all about suspense and terror, rather than the story itself. The story is about a single mother who lives with her son, who is in his first year of school. The boy is scared of a character he's read about in a book, the Babadook.  As the film progresses the Babadook drives first the boy, then his mother to madness.

It's a difficult film to explain. All I can tell you is that you shouldn't let the silly name put you off.

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