Is The Babadook the scariest movie I’ve seen? I’m not sure yet. It’s making me scour the web and my movie collection for a more terrifying experience, that’s for sure.
I will saw this much. It’s the most original take on the boogeyman that I’ve seen. It has one of the best third acts I’ve laid eyes on. And the only film I can compare it to is Kubrick’s version of The Shining. But I’m not going to tell you why. You have to find out for yourself.
The premise is simple. Little kid sees monsters. Mom is worn out because terrified kid won’t let her sleep. Kid becomes a problem at school. Then, the questions begin. Is the Babadook real or imagined? Is this kid crazy? Is Momma batshit? Is someone stalking them? There’s much what-the-fuckery afoot, but it’s all the good kind.
The acting absolutely must be mentioned. The kid who plays Samuel sold his role. I bought that performance whole hog. The lady who plays his mother owns the final act. Bravo. Standing ovation, and all that jazz. I’ve not seen a performance that good in a horror movie in a long time. Everyone else serves their purposes in their roles, but the real stars of the show are the mother and her son. This movie’s success rested on the believability of their plight, and I believed it. Hot damn, did I believe it.
Which brings me back around to scare factor. I cannot remember the last time I checked the shadows during a movie, or jumped at every little sound. The atmosphere of this film very nearly drips off the screen. And the more I think about it, the more I cannot think of a scarier film. I was yelling at the screen, and even chewing my thumb at one point.
The sounds production is equally amazing. There’s music when there should be music, and none when their should be none. There are things herein I’ve never heard before, and I watch a lot of horror movies. The score adds to the dread factor, and you’re always left satisfied by the build ups. There’s no sharp molested-violin jump scares coming at you every five seconds.
In summation: I’ve heard the hipsters complaining that this film doesn’t live up to the hype. I’ve heard horror aficionados say it’s not really that scary. I’ve heard heavy-lidded morons say that Paranormal Activity is a better film. I’m here to say, this movie scared the fuck out of me. No more fuck left. Gone. Yes, I watched it in the dark with headphones on, so I guess I cheated. But horror is meant to be an intimate experience. And like comedy, you have to be in the mood for it. Will the same lightning strike you? How the hell should I know? This is my experience, and I’m owning it. Everyone else can kiss my ass. Buy it. Watch it. Experience it.