A horror movie for Christmas time? Though telling ghost stories around the holidays was a long-standing tradition in previous centuries, it seems a strange thing to recommend a scary movie when everyone is gearing up for Christmas. The Babadook written and directed by Jennifer Kent is an irresistible choice for fans of the horror genre, but it is much more than cheap scares. It’s a genuinely eerie, atmospheric piece of family drama as much as it is a creature-feature.
The Babadook is about a widowed mother named Amelia (Essie Davis) and her son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) who finds a mysterious children’s book about a fearsome being known as the Babadook. Its sinister verse suggests that the beast is lurking under your very skin and you’ll never get rid of it once you let it in. Samuel becomes obsessed with the monsters in the story and begins acting out at his fear fantasies. Amelia is herself becoming unhinged by lack of sleep and unresolved grief. The Babadook itself becomes an allegory for that grief and anger kept at bay by ignoring it, but the more it is suppressed, the more deadly it becomes.
The film generated a lot of buzz at Sundance, so independent film fans will want to check out this beautifully made movie, as it also appeals to fan of the creature feature genre.
SIFF Cinema Uptown (511 Queen Anne Avenue N) showing now until December 24.
Director: Jennifer Kent
Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman
MPAA Rating: R
Run Time: 93 mins
Release Year: 2014
Country Of Origin: Australia