"“If it’s in a word, or it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of The Babadook”"

“If it’s in a word, or it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of The Babadook”. This hauntingly hypnotic phrase perfectly encapsulates writer/director Jennifer Kent’s debut feature, an unnerving tale about a widowed mother struggling to bring up her son after a brutal car crash resulted in the sudden and violent death of her husband.

Based on Kent’s 2005 short Monster, The Babadook takes a recognisable domestic situation (we all know that one child who’s intolerably insufferable) and catapults it into the darkest corner of the psychological horror stratosphere. Essie Davis efficaciously portrays Amelia, a single mother under immense strain, worn down by the constant unpredictable, troubling and antisocial behaviour displayed by her six year old son Samuel (played frustratingly accurately by new comer Daniel Henshall).

During the nightly ritual of choosing a bed time story (a fairly innocent childhood past time) Samuel stumbles upon a previously unread book entitled Mister Babadook, a blood red gothic pop-up book that graphically details the fate of those who encounter the curse of the malevolent Babadook. After concluding the world’s most inappropriate children’s book a terrifying tidal wave of sleepless night ensues for both mother and son.

Kent adeptly orchestrates every parent’s worst nightmare, the fright of fearing your own child and what you may do to them as a result of that fear. An intelligent and engaging psychological horror The Babadook sets the bar high for chilling cinematic releases just in time for the rapidly approaching Halloween period.

Verdict – The Babadook is a genre game changer that doesn’t rely on the formulaic jump scares that are common place in modern horror. Being one of the best horror films in recent years The Babadook will leave you reeling for days after, and horror fans can finally rejoice.