The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

Discussions of specific films and franchises.
Post Reply
Message
Author
Movie-Brat
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:14 am

The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#1 Post by Movie-Brat » Sat Aug 09, 2014 3:13 am

Found out about this when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival from months ago. Since then, I've been looking forward to it as much as like Godzilla and Guardians of the Galaxy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ8iDpVzhwo" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Six years after the violent death of her husband, Amelia struggles to discipline her “out-of-control” six-year-old Samuel – a son she finds difficult to love. Samuel’s dreams are plagued by a monster he believes is coming to kill them both. When a disturbing storybook called Mister Babadook turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the Babadook is the creature he has been dreaming about. As Amelia begins to see glimpses of the creature herself, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about may well be real.
It's getting a release date too and from by IFC Midnight too.

http://bloody-disgusting.com/news/33070 ... -november/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Don't want to sound ungrateful but I kind of wish it was being released in October instead since, Halloween you know. And it would have been perfect for my yearly glut of Horror films I watch in that month. But yeah, I'm happy it's getting a release nevertheless.

User avatar
Lost Highway
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:41 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#2 Post by Lost Highway » Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:47 pm

Movie-Brat wrote:Found out about this when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival from months ago. Since then, I've been looking forward to it as much as like Godzilla and Guardians of the Galaxy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ8iDpVzhwo" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Six years after the violent death of her husband, Amelia struggles to discipline her “out-of-control” six-year-old Samuel – a son she finds difficult to love. Samuel’s dreams are plagued by a monster he believes is coming to kill them both. When a disturbing storybook called Mister Babadook turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the Babadook is the creature he has been dreaming about. As Amelia begins to see glimpses of the creature herself, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about may well be real.
It's getting a release date too and from by IFC Midnight too.

http://bloody-disgusting.com/news/33070 ... -november/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Don't want to sound ungrateful but I kind of wish it was being released in October instead since, Halloween you know. And it would have been perfect for my yearly glut of Horror films I watch in that month. But yeah, I'm happy it's getting a release nevertheless.
I saw this at Frightfest in London last weekend and I'd say, don't get your hopes up too much. I think the film has been a little overhyped, it feels like it would have perfect as a 30 minute short. The performances of the two leads are very good, I was particularly impressed with the child actor. The practical effects of the Babadook are charming but after a while the whole thing gets monotonous. I never found the film remotely scary and I'm not one of those people who claim to never get scared by horror films.

I talked to a few other people afterwards and everybody felt a little let down by what was probably the most anticipated film of the festival. The best thing about the film is the pop up children's book of the title. I would like to have that.

Movie-Brat
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:14 am

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#3 Post by Movie-Brat » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:37 am

Lost Highway wrote:I saw this at Frightfest in London last weekend and I'd say, don't get your hopes up too much. I think the film has been a little overhyped, it feels like it would have perfect as a 30 minute short.
Funny you should say that.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0466566/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://vimeo.com/39042148" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
Lost Highway
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:41 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#4 Post by Lost Highway » Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:12 am

Movie-Brat wrote:
Lost Highway wrote:I saw this at Frightfest in London last weekend and I'd say, don't get your hopes up too much. I think the film has been a little overhyped, it feels like it would have perfect as a 30 minute short.
Funny you should say that.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0466566/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://vimeo.com/39042148" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Yes, they mentioned at the festival that it was an expanded short. Quite a few horror films are. Sometimes it works, but in this case I don't think it did. I will have a look at the whole short later, thanks for posting it.

Movie-Brat
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:14 am

Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#5 Post by Movie-Brat » Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:54 pm

US Trailer for The Babadook

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mRhup5hLTM" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
repeat
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:04 am
Location: high in the Custerdome

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#6 Post by repeat » Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:45 am

Don't watch the trailer, it'll only spoil the experience and make you lose sleep for no good reason. :wink:

I have to say my experience could not diverge more strongly from that reported by Lost Highway above: I've not been as strongly creeped out by a film since the nightmare segment of Mulholland Dr., with which (and Kent is a huge admirer of Lynch) this shares a deep understanding about how fear functions, about what is scary about fear itself. And it's also a beautiful meditation on sorrow, the pain of loss, and fear of mental illness (the very literal handling of this central metaphor will probably annoy people who had problems with the same in Take Shelter, but it is in a similar way absolutely crucial to the emotional impact of this film). It's a good old-fashioned intelligent psychological horror film that has far more on its mind than just delivering scares to desensitized "horror fans". Top ten fare, make no mistake.

User avatar
Finch
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:09 pm
Location: Edinburgh, UK

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#7 Post by Finch » Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:34 pm

I liked the film but I was also disappointed by it. It has a bunch of legitimately scary scenes but it also feels padded and it completely fudges the ending. Jennifer Kent is one to watch though. She definitely likes the right stuff as proven by the clips from Black Sabbath and Melies showing on the film's telly.

User avatar
thirtyframesasecond
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:48 pm

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#8 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:14 am

Contrary to the previous posters, I really liked this film and found I had to watch plenty of it through my fingers!

The knowing nods to Bava and Melies give her the right credentials and lean this away from the Conjuring type films towards something that thinks itself more cerebral. I don't think it does go for easy shocks given that most of the horror occurs during daylight hours. The book itself is the scariest thing about it though!

I liked that the ending didn't go for something generic, though if
SpoilerShow
the Babadook is a manifestation of Amelia's damaged psyche, what does it's living in the cellar represent? That this grief and resentment can't just be put away

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#9 Post by swo17 » Tue Dec 02, 2014 1:29 pm

thirtyframesasecond wrote:
SpoilerShow
I liked that the ending didn't go for something generic, though if the Babadook is a manifestation of Amelia's damaged psyche, what does it's living in the cellar represent? That this grief and resentment can't just be put away
SpoilerShow
I don't know that it's the manifestation of her damaged psyche so much as the specter of this terrible tragedy that will forever loom over the whole household (affecting the son as well). For the duration of the film, we get to see a horror-film interpretation of what this does to the family when they let it take control of them. By the end of the film, they have learned a way to keep it at bay...at least for now.
It's rare for a horror film to be satisfying all the way through, especially when it decides to stop teasing and lay out all of its cards, but I thought this one was successful for the most part. Most unsettling were the late night TV watching and all those evil facial gestures by the little boy. Imagine The Shining with good acting...

User avatar
aox
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#10 Post by aox » Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:54 pm

Not to say that this was bad, but I actually found this somewhat underwhelming despite the strong acting and competent pace.

Regarding the end:
SpoilerShow
So, she screamed at it, and now it will just reside in the basement? They know it eats worms? With all of the violence, everything is cheery two weeks later? The hospital didn't anything to say?

Jakamarak
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:46 am

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#11 Post by Jakamarak » Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:14 pm

I was looking forward to this based on the premise and reports that Jennifer Kent is promising director. Unfortunately, I found it pretty bad. The direction was competent but nothing special. I thought the fast pace, specifically the clipped heads and tails of scenes, kept the film from generating real suspense. Consequently, we got a series of small events when longer sequences that built up to big events would have been much more effective. After the basic idea, the script felt very by the numbers right down to the head scratch of an ending. It left me even more impressed with The Innocents for raising clear questions about what's real and what's the protagonist's perception. The Babadook attempts something similar with results that are muddy at best. While Essie Davis was quite good, I thought the kid was embarrassing.

I found Ana Lily Amarpour's A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night to be a much more exciting debut with, perhaps, the best performance by a cat in a film since Breakfast at Tiffany's.

User avatar
hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#12 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:33 pm

This completely slipped me by, but it's garnered a few "best first film" awards. Disappointing to read the reaction here, I wish they would push more adventurous work.

Movie-Brat
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:14 am

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#13 Post by Movie-Brat » Tue Dec 02, 2014 9:00 pm

I want to see it, badly. But the problem is, my local theater prefers Saving Christmas than The Babadook let's just say. Then again, they didn't show Snowpiercer or The Guest. Hell, they showed Tusk but not The Guest. It's just not fair.

Werewolf by Night

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#14 Post by Werewolf by Night » Tue Dec 02, 2014 9:21 pm

It's available to rent on Amazon and iTunes if you're not against that sort of thing.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#15 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:00 pm

And PS3/4, and Xbox 360/One.

User avatar
acroyear
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:22 pm

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#16 Post by acroyear » Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:19 am

Excellent film. Loved it all. Admittedly, my experience with modern horror is severely limited, as this and (the equally excellent) Housebound were my only viewings of the genre for 2014 (unless Under the Skin counts? ...hmm, maybe not.)

Essie Davis' performance is worthy of an Oscar, but a crowd-funded/indie/horror movie sounds like a triple-threat in guaranteeing zero Academy recognition.

User avatar
barryconvex
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:08 pm
Location: NYC

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#17 Post by barryconvex » Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:38 am

the metaphors in this film were just too close to the surface for my taste.
SpoilerShow
the first 3/4=a tragedy manifests itself in the form of a monster making mother and child's lives tortuous. the last 1/4=they'll never get rid of the guilt they feel about tragedy of the husband's death/babadook but they can live with it if they reign it in, make a fragile peace with it and keep it in the back of their minds/basement of the house. although i admit this was a better solution to the problem then the usual "we've somehow summoned a demon that we now have to get rid of so let's have a quasi-religious ceremony"..
not a terrible movie, good performances (especially Essie Davis), solid direction, nice use of sfx on a small budget...i just wasn't scared or moved by any of it...

User avatar
jbeall
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:22 am
Location: Atlanta-ish

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#18 Post by jbeall » Fri May 15, 2015 12:50 am

Not a horror-movie buff nor am I unusually scared by them (though one or two gave me nightmares when I was a kid), but The Babadook gave me chills several times.
SpoilerShow
If I have to justify my reaction, it's the extent to which the film remains in the realm of the uncanny, rather than the fantastic or the supernatural. The last five minutes were a letdown, but that hardly spoiled ~85 minutes of creeping tension.
Also, perhaps it's because the film was Australian, but how eerie was it that the kid looked like Angus Young?
Image Image

but the real Angus would have shredded the monster to death.

User avatar
Sloper
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 10:06 pm

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#19 Post by Sloper » Fri Dec 11, 2015 8:19 pm

I went into this completely blind – had an evening free and there it was on Netflix – and wasn’t expecting much. I love horror films but they’re almost always disappointing, so I rarely pluck up the courage to watch them these days. It Follows was the last one I saw before this. Mitchell’s film was legitimately terrifying, to the point that it gave me an entire night of bad dreams, but I thought it fell apart in the last half hour or so. Like so many horror films, it just didn’t seem to have a clear sense of what it was about, what the ‘scary thing’ at its heart really was.

Then again, maybe I missed something, because it’s mystifying to me now reading similar comments about The Babadook. This film seems so clearly and so intensely concerned with a particular issue, and everything in it – absolutely everything – seems to feed into what it has to say about the horror of that issue. It’s one of the best horror films I’ve ever seen, and indeed I can’t remember the last time a film had such a visceral and profound emotional impact on me. The last twenty minutes, including the ending, were especially harrowing.
SpoilerShow
I don’t think it’s about grief as such, but mental illness and depression. Yes, the mental illness is precipitated by grief, but the protagonist’s relationship with her sister hints that there may be deeper issues relating to her childhood, and more importantly the film emphasises how the depression is fuelled not so much by the mother’s own sense of denial as by the unwillingness or inability of others to engage meaningfully with what she’s going through. People are comfortable bringing up the topic of her husband’s death, but only to then move on from it. And I loved the various Kafka-esque authority figures. The cinematography, art direction and make-up all contributed wonderfully to the overwhelming sense that all of these people and forces ‘are’ the Babadook. There’s something very moving about the way that the frail old neighbour’s simple, spontaneous act of kindness provides the glimmer of hope the mother needs to confront and, at length, control the Babadook.

The film targets our culture’s collective sense of denial about mental illness, and shows in unflinching detail the potential consequences of such denial for the isolated, marginalised individual and her helpless dependant. We see the mother resorting to the television for some vestige of contact with the rest of the world, but the screen gradually starts to reflect her own fears back at her – an experience I would imagine many of us TV-addicts on this forum can identify with.

And the ending, far from being fudged or confused, is in its own way the scariest scene of all. There’s a terrible truth in that line from the book: ‘you can’t get rid of the Babadook’. The depression never goes away, and it gets her every time she goes into the basement, every time she plunges back into the recesses of her own mind (this is what’s happening in the final shot). Her relationship with it isn’t even a battle anymore. She speaks comfortingly to it, as though it were another child, the ‘problem child’ Sam has been until then. That’s how we know it’s more than just grief for her husband – it isn’t really her husband she’s keeping in the basement. She feeds it with earthworms, the creatures who are eating away at her insides (Sam warns her the Babadook will do this), who are dredged up and acknowledged only to be fed back into the darkness again. She can’t have those cockroaches crawling out of the wall if she wants to avoid destroying her son; but she knows they’re always there. If you’ve ever suffered from mental illness, or even just been afraid of suffering from it, you’ll understand what a great ‘horror movie ending’ this is. Perhaps it’s the best the mother can hope for, and perhaps she will be able to maintain some form of stability from now on. But she still ends up dealing with the monster in solitude, so her son won’t have to anymore. And what does it mean that he will be allowed to see the Babadook for himself ‘when he’s older’? That he too might have to learn to appease this monster as he grows up? There’s no pat solution to either’ character’s problems.

All the way through this film, I kept waiting for it to fuck something up. Will it show too much of the monster? Will it resort to cheap action-movie suspense situations at the climax? Will it drop the sympathetic treatment of mental illness and demonise the mother, thus going the way of countless exploitative horror films about ‘mad’ people? Will the ending be irresponsibly nihilistic, killing off mother and/or son with some lazily shocking twist? But it never put a foot wrong – I didn’t see a single wrong note in the whole thing. The Babadook emerges, not from a desire to scare the audience (a meagre ambition that many horror films settle for), but from a heartfelt need to come to terms with a real-life horror. The Turn of the Screw begins with an anecdote about a child who wakes his mother up, not so she can reassure him that the horrible thing he’s seen doesn’t exist, but so that he can show the horrible thing to her, and make her share it. This is what the best horror stories and horror films do, I think: it’s not a case of, ‘I’m going to scare you with this thing’, but ‘This thing scares me – I’m going to show you why’. That means the film doesn't attack you with jump-scares, but instead works hard to form a bond with you, and rewards you for going along with it.

The Doogster
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:07 pm
Location: Oz

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#20 Post by The Doogster » Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:13 pm

Sloper wrote:Then again, maybe I missed something, because it’s mystifying to me now reading similar comments about The Babadook. This film seems so clearly and so intensely concerned with a particular issue, and everything in it – absolutely everything – seems to feed into what it has to say about the horror of that issue. It’s one of the best horror films I’ve ever seen, and indeed I can’t remember the last time a film had such a visceral and profound emotional impact on me. The last twenty minutes, including the ending, were especially harrowing.
For me, it was the last twenty minutes when it fell apart. What the frack were the worms about? And why did the Essie Davis character start quoting from The Shining? Why was the whole movie so humourless? Finally, that kid was seriously annoying. I was hoping for the Babadook to dismember him - that would've been a far more entertaining movie.

Robin Davies
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 2:00 am

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#21 Post by Robin Davies » Sat Dec 12, 2015 10:24 am

The Doogster wrote:
Sloper wrote:Then again, maybe I missed something, because it’s mystifying to me now reading similar comments about The Babadook. This film seems so clearly and so intensely concerned with a particular issue, and everything in it – absolutely everything – seems to feed into what it has to say about the horror of that issue. It’s one of the best horror films I’ve ever seen, and indeed I can’t remember the last time a film had such a visceral and profound emotional impact on me. The last twenty minutes, including the ending, were especially harrowing.
For me, it was the last twenty minutes when it fell apart. What the frack were the worms about? And why did the Essie Davis character start quoting from The Shining? Why was the whole movie so humourless? Finally, that kid was seriously annoying. I was hoping for the Babadook to dismember him - that would've been a far more entertaining movie.
I agree 100% that the kid was too annoying to have any kind of sympathy with. Of the three recent horror movies which have received rave reviews I only liked It Follows - a wonderfully unnerving film with a great premise, inspired use of location and some intriguing retro elements that actually added to the film instead of undermining it with "knowing" irony. By contrast, The Babadook and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (too slow and self-consciously "hip") were major disappointments.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#22 Post by domino harvey » Sat Dec 12, 2015 11:07 am

I get that the kid was supposed to be so obnoxious that we the audience could share the frustrations of the mother in having to deal with him and his special needs, but it was just too much here and it ended up turning me off from the film completely. I don't think I'm supposed to hate the kid in this narrative, only understand the difficulties that come with raising him, but the movie tipped me too far in the darker direction (and if I am supposed to hate him, then fuck this film even harder). This is legitimately one of the most supremely annoying films I've ever seen and I am not exaggerating when I say that you could not pay me to sit through it again.

User avatar
jsteffe
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:00 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

#23 Post by jsteffe » Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:34 pm

domino harvey wrote:I get that the kid was supposed to be so obnoxious that we the audience could share the frustrations of the mother in having to deal with him and his special needs, but it was just too much here and it ended up turning me off from the film completely. I don't think I'm supposed to hate the kid in this narrative, only understand the difficulties that come with raising him, but the movie tipped me too far in the darker direction (and if I am supposed to hate him, then fuck this film even harder). This is legitimately one of the most supremely annoying films I've ever seen and I am not exaggerating when I say that you could not pay me to sit through it again.
I couldn't agree more. The relentlessly annoying nature of the kid was a woeful miscalculation by the director, made worse by the mother also being unsympathetic. I don't remember the last time I found a film such an unrewarding chore to watch. The hype surrounding it is completely mystifying.

Post Reply