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Blu-Ray review: FTN reviews The Babadook

February 9th, 2015 by Matt Gault Comments


The Babadook (15)
Directed by: Jennifer Kent
Starring: Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall & Tiffany Lyndall-Knight
Running time: 93 min

“If it’s in a word, or it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of the Babadook…” In a world of predictable hand-held camera horror films, it is difficult for a film with genuine dread and thrills to stand out. Jennifer Kent’s nightmarish Babadook does an admirable job in offsetting the weary cinematic woes caused by endless streams of Paranormal Activity. The Babadook is a thoughtful horror film driven by a terrific central performance from Essie Davies.

Davies plays the increasingly unhinged and traumatised single parent Amelia, who remains haunted by the memories of her husband’s death six years ago. Her life is far from easy. She lives with her deeply troubled son Samuel (Wiseman), who is obsessed with monsters in his room and constantly causing terror inside the house with his slingshot. The only time when the mother and son seem settled is when Amelia reads a bedtime story to him.

However, when Samuel insists on reading The Babadook, their world is turned upside down. Progressing through the story, Amelia and Samuel become increasingly upset by the images and story inside the book. After scaring Samuel stiff, Amelia attempts to banish the book from the house but to no avail. It keeps returning.

There is no escaping the Babadook.

Kent’s debut feature as both writer and director is infused with originality and a sense of film-making poise the horror genre so often lacks. The film is driven by the threat of a scare, as opposed to the actual scare itself. It makes the viewer genuinely care about Amelia and Samuel – a feat rarely achieved among the masses of dumbed-down high-school kids that populate the scary movies. At the heart of the film is a strained relationship between mother and son, fractured by the ghost of a deceased husband/father and struggling to stick together through their bleak and forlorn life.

There is an undeniable sense of raw emotion throughout this Aussie flick, highlighting the extreme challenge for Amelia as she battles between trying to connect with her son, as temptations to hurt him creep into her consciousness. The darkness of their house and the vast emptiness of the room evokes the confinement felt by the characters as they continue to be haunted by the Babadook.

There is no escaping the Babadook.

They can’t leave their house and have to contend with the impending doom that lurks behind every door.

Kent emphasises the human element of the story despite the presence of the monster. It focuses on the deep psychological discord in Amelia as she comes up against a world that seems to be falling in around her. The result is a picture packed with dread and suspense, which sacrifices the obvious, jolt-inducing flourishes of horror cinema for a more measured and atmospheric approach. The end result is a beautifully original and strikingly creepy film, which thrives on the claustrophobia and paranoia of its main protagonist.

Look or no look, you can’t get rid of The Babadook. ​

4 out of 5 nerds


On Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms on February 16, 2015
“It will scare the hell out of you…” William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist

Are you brave enough to let the breakout horror hit of 2014 through your door? Find out when The Babadook comes tap, tap, tapping onto Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms from February 16, 2015 courtesy of Icon Film Distribution.

Six years after the violent death of her husband, Amelia (Essie Davis) is at a loss. She struggles to discipline her out of control 6 year-old, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), a son she finds impossible to love. Samuel’s dreams are plagued by a sinister monster he believes is coming to kill them both. When a disturbing storybook called ‘The Babadook’ turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the creature in the book is the monster he’s been dreaming about. His hallucinations spiral out of control and as he becomes more unpredictable and violent, Amelia is genuinely frightened by her son’s behaviour.

But when Amelia begins to see glimpses of a sinister presence all around her, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about – TheBabadook – may be real after all…

Directed by visionary first-time director Jennifer Kent, The Babadook looks set to be the most terrifying release of 2015, as well as one of the most critically acclaimed. Discover if you can take it from February 16.
Title: The Babadook
Release date:   16th February 2015
Discs: Blu-ray: 1 disc / DVD: 1 disc
Price: DVD: £15.99 RRP / BD: £17.99 RRP
Genre: Horror
Certificate: 15



  • Special Effects: The Stabbing Scene
  • There’s No Place Like Home: Creating The House
  • Illustrating Evil: Creating The Book
  • The Stunts


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Matt Gault is a sports writer and film fanatic. He is a fully-qualified journalist and has worked for BBCNI, Sunday Life and has been published on The Guardian's website. He interns at REDNI, sub-editing for the Belfast Telegraph. He studied at Queen's University pretending to like history and literature and then University of Ulster Coleraine, where he slacked off enormously for a year and somehow got away with it. He also enjoys Captain Morgans, The Sopranos, Led Zeppelin and Hunter S. Thompson which makes him a remarkably uninteresting person.