The Babadook’s low budget doesn’t affect its ability to terrify, scare

By Nick Farinola, Contributing Writer ||

The Babadook is one of the scariest psychological horror movies I have ever seen. Australian director Jennifer Kent has created a horror masterpiece by avoiding the cheap Hollywood scares and gore that viewers have become accustomed to. The terrifying story opens with a disturbed young boy (Daniel Henshall) and his distraught and exhausted single mother (Essie Davis). The boy has been fatherless for his entire six years of life, and he constantly reminds his mother that his father died driving his pregnant mother to the hospital six years ago.

The Babadook is disturbing. So disturbing that I occasionally had to turn away from the screen and turn on the lights.

The boy finds a book at their front door, and he is immediately interested. What he doesn’t know is that the book is a guide to avoiding this malevolent demon known as the Babadook. He comes out of the closet during the night, and if the child or mother screams when they see him, he possesses the mother and has her slice the throat of the young child. The Babadook is a terrifying monster that only says his name in a rhyme. Whenever I heard, “Babadook dook dook!” my heart started to race, and my head started to pound.

The mother and son of this film are in the worst condition. The death of their father/husband takes a toll on their psyche. The Babadook constantly takes the form of the deceased husband, and tricks the mother to try and kill her own son. This movie makes me feel claustrophobic, and that is one of the best characteristics in a horror movie. Never have I seen something like this movie. It messed with my head without any expensive CGI.

The budget of this movie was an incredible $30,000, and they used the money to their advantage. The shots made me feel scared and alone as the woman and son hid under the covers and waited to hear the disturbing sounds of the Babadook. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened at the end, and I also couldn’t wait until it was over because it was just that terrifying. The acting from these first-time actors/actresses was top-notch, which added the sense of real terror each time the Babadook hit the screen.

I recommend this movie to every horror buff, because it changes the genre completely. It’s terrifying — not in a gory or cheap-scare kind of way. It’s relentless in its scares. Although The Babadook will not be released until November 28, it can be streamed on
DIRECTV for $9.99. It is simply a great horror/psychological movie that made me feel uncomfortable, and that’s a job well done.

First-year Nick Farinola is a contributing writer. His email is nfarinol@fandm.edu

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