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The Babadook (Special Edition) - Blu-ray Review

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The Babadook - Movie Review

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5 stars

Holy crap.  Holy crap.  HOLY CRAP. 

That’s the only thing I could stammer after releasing my grip from the theater armrests upon the completion of writer/director Jennifer Kent’s chilling The Babadook.  This intelligent horror film does more than make you jump out of your seat.  It makes you care.  It isn’t loaded with gimmicky scares at all.  This is a type of slow burn terror, complete with old school atmospheres and an intensity that will make your skin crawl.  The Babadook is, in fact, a great addition to cinema’s mad carnival of monsters.

Inspired in part by the twisted visions found in the early silent films of Georges Méliès, The Babadook is the story of a grieving mother, Amelia (Essie Davis), and her troubled son Sam (Noah Wiseman) who is obsessed with protecting the two of them from all sorts of monsters.  One night, Amelia and Sam harmlessly read a strange book that has mysteriously appeared in their home.  It is a children’s tale about a sinister creature called the Babadook. 

Except they don’t make it completely through before Sam is in tears and shaking with fright.  Even Amelia is disturbed by its graphic threats.  The pop-up book is so terrifying that it is removed from the house altogether and placed in the trash.  Except the book won’t stop returning to the house.  Turns out, the family has unleashed a monster that they will both be forced to fight.  Darkness is, after all, something you ever throw away.

The Babadook is a startlingly original debut imbued with great emotional depth and nuance that is able to both scare and move its audience.  You will wonder about the sanity of Sam and Amelia both as they travel through an uncaring world that refuses to see or sense what they are encountering in the shadows of their house … and across the ceiling.  Kent’s first feature as writer-director is both fiercely original and richly genre-literate.   She stands tall alongside Dreyer, Polanski, Franju, Lynch, Carpenter and del Toro with this film.  I already can’t wait to see what she does next even if it is a pop-up book with illustrator, Alexander Juhasz.

The film is what happens when a character like Freddy Krueger enters the maternal paedophobia world of Lynne Ramsay’s provocative We Need to Talk About Kevin and starts breathing in that air.  It is dangerous, edgy, and necessary.  Too many times – especially in this culture – we refuse to face the shadows of life.  The Babadook embraces this approach and turns a traditional folk tale into a modern masterpiece of fear and never once underestimates the strength of children.

The Babadook is the nightmare version of Tim Burton’s creativity.  Dark and wholly original, it is a film that sears its way deep into the unconsciousness and makes us face some real fears because there is no escape from ourselves.  As the book suggests, “if it’s in a word, or it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of the Babadook.”

The Babadook - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: Expected MPAA rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material including disturbing violent content, terror, brief sexuality & for Brief Strong Language OR R for terror, violence, some disturbing images & language.
Runtime:
93 mins
Director
: Jennifer Kent
Writer:
Jennifer Kent
Cast:
Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Noah Wiseman
Genre
: Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Noah Drama | Horror | Thriller
Tagline:
The Babadook
Memorable Movie Quote: "You can't get rid of the Babadook."
Distributor:
IFC Films
Official Site: http://thebabadook.com/
Release Date:
November 28, 2014 (limited)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 14, 2015
Synopsis: Do you want to die?!” seven-year-old Samuel asks his stressed-out single mother, Amelia. She wonders if his question is a threat or a warning. After dealing with Samuel’s frantic tantrums his entire life, Amelia suspects that her son has begun directing his violent misbehavior toward her. However, after a dark and foreboding children’s book called Mister Babadook mysteriously appears on Samuel’s bookshelf, Amelia must decide if her son is truly deranged, or if there really is a bogeyman lurking in their darkened halls at night.

The Babadook - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - April 14, 2015
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Scream Factory’s special edition Blu-ray of The Babadook accentuates excellent film with inspired packaging and a solid selection of bonus materials. The slipcase recreates the pop-up storybook from the film, complete with a beautiful-yet-haunting illustration of Mr. Babadook and the children’s rhyme, “If it’s in a word, or it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of the Babadook.” As far as supplemental items go, things get off to a strong start with a 35-minute making of documentary that covers the writing, casting, production and release of the film. The documentary includes interviews with all the main participants but particularly writer/director Jennifer Kent, who discusses the film’s primary themes. Next up is “Monster”, writer/director Jennifer Kent’s early short that inspired the film. There are several featurettes covering the special effects, the design of the house, and the stunts. There’s a still gallery and a collection of trailers for the film.

  • They Call Him Mister Babadook (35 min)
  • Monster (11 min)
  • Special Effects: The Stabbing Scene (3 min)
  • There’s No Place Like Home: Creating The House (10 min)
  • The Stunts (4 min)
  • Trailers
  • Stills Gallery

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