Friday, December 05, 2014

Quote of the Day

"The good news is, I had the foresight to make sure that my producer and I owned the rights to any sequels. The reason for that is I will never allow any sequel to be made, because it’s not that kind of film. I don’t care how much I’m offered, it’s just not going to happen."

If you had any doubt after watching The Babadook (and we have all seen it ten times by now, correct?) that director Jennifer Kent's just a full house of aces, there's our money shot (via). Not that I wouldn't watch The Babadook 2: Babadookier, but I sure would feel dirty about it. Let's keep ourselves clean.


Wendy Craven said...

I don't get why people are even talking about The Babadook? Is it because it has a female director? How patronizing for her because the film itself is just a regurgitation of every tired cliche and trope that this specific sub-genre has ever produced.

Oh look, a child that's an outsider and not liked by other children makes friends with a invisible friend everyone believes is a figment of his imagination.

Oh look, a child ominously talking to something that no one can see and which tells the child it's going to do violent things to the child or his family which leads to the parent seeking professional help for the child.

Oh look, a mysterious object (in this case a book) that keeps showing up again and again even when it's destroyed.

Oh look, a wild child that may be evil and that we the audience are led to believe may harm his mother.

Oh look, a mother driven insane by a dark force that compels her to harm her offspring.

Oh look, someone killing the family dog to reinforce the potential danger threatening the child.

Oh look, a terrified person hiding under the covers while an scary presence looms over them and when they muster the courage to look, the presence is gone.

If a man had directed this critics would pan it as generic uninpired drivel but because it's a woman they're all like, "aw, look a woman made a movie that isn't about a sassy career girl trying to navigate the minefield that is dating in your 30s, isn't that adorable".

Saying something is great when in truth it's less than stellar just because everyone else is saying it or because it makes you feel "progressive" to say it or you feel that by saying it you're somehow helping to open the door for more female horror directors is insulting to everyone involved.

It's almost like these types of people feel that if they say something mean (and honest) she'll skitter off and we'll never see anything female horror director ever again. :/

Anonymous said...

Normally I don't care much for confusing authorial intent with interpretation, but in this case intent must to some degree inform interpretation. So yes, it *is* important that 'The Babadook' was written and directed by a woman.

You can quibble about novelty & invention all you like, it's the mother's relationship to & with her son (specifically its poisonous basis in guilt) that's the story. Not the horror tropes, not the stuff you've seen before that turned you off to this one: it's the rapport-- or lack of one --between mother and child which makes the tale affective. It's not 'We Need To Talk About Kevin' but it operates in the same sphere. The taboo subject matter, namely the social decree that all women are "supposed" to have a healthy emotional rapport with their children, is what makes 'The Babadook' worthy of consideration.

You're looking at it exclusively as a genre exercise, which is a rather myopic lens for considering anything. (I'm surprised you didn't take the movie to task for its emphasis on the subjectivity of the family's experiences, or the cheapness of employing a folie à deux.) Most stories repeat tropes; only a few actively subvert them; fewer still avoid them entirely. Were your complaints used as criteria for re-evaluating the whole of horror it would take innumerable dumpsters to haul away all the dross.

While 'The Babadook' doesn't reinvent horror, I have more genuine interest in it than the majority of modern films which forgo sincere emotional content for hollow shocks and diminishing returns. (See also: 'Mama'.) Pacing was my principle problem with this film but since it effected the desired results on me nonetheless I'm not about to call bullshit on the director for not editing to my exacting standards.

Given the content and the fact that it's her first major release I think it's fair to say she'll do better in the future. What you're failing to recognize is that whether *you* liked it or not, 'The Babadook' was a brave debut and a modest success. Brave because if it had failed it would have failed hard and we wouldn't be having this discussion now.

Surely that's got to be worth something, right?

Audrey said...

Just because critics and audiences have given it praise doesn't necessarily mean it's automatically going to be a game-changer. It's well acted, directed, and crafted. It's not as scary as I had anticipated, although small things - like the flutter sound effect the first time we see the Babadook - were effective.

If a man directed this I think the reaction would be the same. We usually view horror movies in terms of how they compare against the genre instead of movies in general, and as such The Babadook is successful.

Unknown said...

Quite simply The Babadook was a far superior horror film than any American horror film put out in 2014. I am a fan of the genre but it has lost it's touch. Hollywood is pandering to the tween audience with repetitious films with nothing but "Jump Scares", horrible acting and storylines. I look at these lists that say Annabelle, Jessabelle, Ouija, That as above so far below crap etc were the best horror films last year and I have to face palm. The Babadook had an incredible story, phenomenal acting, a storyline that mixed loss, grieving, guilt and horror together perfectly. The main actress deserves an award she was that good. Yes the boy was annoying at first...BUT was he annoying just because or was something wrong with him. Did he maybe have autism? some mental health issue? The movie had No jump scares and you never really see the monster of nightmares so your horror and being afraid develops in your mind and not the screen. A+