Director: Jennifer Kent
Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
Where there is imagination, there is darkness and from within that darkness lurks a being of unfathomable terror…
Amelia (AFI Award winner Essie Davis – The Matrix Revolutions, Girl with a Pearl Earring) is a single mother plagued by the violent death of her husband. When a disturbing storybook called Mister Babadook turns up at her house, she is forced to battle with her son’s deep-seated fear of a monster. Soon she discovers a sinister presence all around her. A chilling tale of unseen and otherworldly horror in the haunting tradition of The Conjuring and The Orphanage, Jennifer Kent’s visceral journey into the heart of fear itself is as terrifying as it is believable.
For single mother Amelia (Davis) it’s been no easy task trying to work and survive in addition to caring for her troubled son Samuel (Wiseman) while also maintaining her sanity following her husband’s untimely death in a car accident which occurred while driving her to give birth. When preparing Samuel for bed one night, he selects an unfamiliar book from the shelf about a terrifying creature or boogeyman of sorts called ‘The Babadook.’ Soon the creature becomes imbedded in her son’s mind which begins to test Amelia’s patience, until she begins to see the Babadook for herself and her sanity begins to dwindle. Is this monster real or merely a figment of her imagination? One way or another it will have to be resolved before it costs them their lives.
Jennifer Kent wrote and directed ‘The Babadook’ and she does an impressive job both with the creation and execution of this dark and unique fairy tale of sorts. She more than capably captures the tone and tension, while also accentuating the eerily beautiful surroundings and delivering quite the impressive horror film. ‘The Babadook’ also owes a great deal to the impressive performances by the two lead actors, both Essie Davis (who portrays single mother Amelia) and newcomer Noah Wiseman (who portrays her son Samuel in a remarkable debut performance) deliver notable and more than capable performances in their respective roles.
‘The Babadook’ is a well done, dark and eerie fairy tale that maintains a dark and foreboding vibe throughout while both complimenting and at times contradicting it with the choices of particularly rich and vibrant colors in the surroundings and background details. It’s creepy, tense and gorgeous with some of the most grin-worthy creature noises I’ve heard in a long time and is definitely one that is greatly benefited from watching as loudly as possible with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack fully utilized if you have the capability to do so. ‘The Babadook’ properly earns its scares and also takes things in unexpected directions, really giving it a unique feel so unlike anything else in the genre in many ways. While I can’t say that it lives up to some of the hype such as being referred to as ‘the scariest film ever’ and similar comments, but it is certainly an exceptionally well done horror thriller and I would highly recommend checking it out, especially to the fellow horror fans.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘The Babadook’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.35:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole, beautifully representing the film’s bright and vivid colors and delivering a sharp and detailed presentation throughout, with even the darker moments always looking beautiful and never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or indiscernible in any way. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation that should not disappoint the fans.
The Blu-Ray release includes a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that sounds pretty phenomenal and contributes a great deal to the overall experience of this creepy little gem. This lossless multichannel soundtrack capably jumps from tame and quiet to loud and high pitched repeatedly and without any warning, while always providing crisp, discrete and perfectly balanced sound throughout, never causing any dialogue occurring to become distorted or negatively affected by any other auditory elements occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a very solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it.
The Standard Blu-Ray release of ‘The Babadook’ includes a nice collection of bonus goodies and while most are short and sweet, there is at least one very solid and notable inclusion. That standout inclusion is a number of Cast & Crew Interviews which run over 60 minutes in length altogether and provide a great deal of insight into the film. Also included are the Theatrical Trailers for the film and a number of short Behind the Scenes Featurette’s that explore everything from detailing the book to the special effects and more. The included Featurette’s are: ‘Creating the Book with Illustrator Alex Juasz’ (3 minutes),‘A Tour of the House Set’ (7 minutes),‘The Stunts: Jumping the Stairs’ (2 minutes), ‘Special Effects: The Stabbing Scene‘ (2 minutes) and ‘Behind the Scenes B-Roll’ (3 minutes).