Monday, March 24, 2014

The Babadook in 250 Words or Less

It's a tricky tightrope you've got to walk when you want to review a movie like the totally terrific new Australian horror film The Babadook without tipping the conversation towards spoiler territory. You don't want to mention the movies its walking in the wake of because part of its pleasure is in watching it disturb the patterns - The Babadook is astutely aware of its forebears, it wears its influences like blood-splatters on its sleeve, but it's never in a wink-wink fashion. It's just seen what worked in the past, and it knots it all up into a beautiful new terrifying concoction. Why it works - and it works marvelously well - is first and foremost it never loses sight of character (we buy Amelia and Samuel every step of the way, right off the deep end) and second and second-most it is edited like gangbusters. From early on there's something gorgeously wrong in its rhythms - a nasty arrhythmic pulse like a hiccup inside our chest or a bubble of air in our bloodstream, weaving towards our heart. It squeezes and it squeezes and oh, what a marvelous rush. But implying the film's only some sort of thrill-ride does it a disservice (not that I have anything against thrill-rides, natch) - it's just that heart its got a hold of and is squeezing with ill intent is human, monstrously human, nearly too much so. It hurts.

1 comment:

Wayne B said...

Just watched it last night.
Incredible. The only word to describe Essie Davis' performance. She kept me gripped throughout the whole movie, especially after the Babadook's infestation. The physicality, changes in her body language, she brought to the transformation was especially enthralling. One of those movies that i'm going to be recommending to all my friends.