A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.
- Amelia Vanek: Essie Davis
- Samuel Vanek: Noah Wiseman
- Claire: Hayley McElhinney
- Robbie: Daniel Henshall
- Gracie Roach: Barbara West
- Oskar Vanek: Ben Winspear
- Prue: Cathy Adamek
- Warren: Craig Behenna
- Sergeant: Adam Morgan
- Mother No. 2: Peta Shannon
- Bugsy: Hachi
- The Babadook: Tim Purcell
- Ruby: Chloe Hurn
- Eastern Suburbs Mum 1: Pippa Wanganeen
- Eastern Suburbs Mum 3: Michelle Nightingale
- Principal: Tony Mack
- Teacher: Carmel Johnson
- Young Policeman 1: Michael Gilmour
- Young Policeman 2: Craig McArdle
- Beverly: Jacquy Phillips
- Doctor: Terence Crawford
- Supermarket Mum: Tiffany Lyndall-Knight
- Supermarket Little Girl: Lucy Hong
- Checkout Chick: Sophie Riggs
- Car Guy: John Maurice
- Magician: Stephen Sheehan
- Fast Food Mum: Alicia Zorkovic
- Norma: Bridget Walters
- Kissing Woman: Lotte Crawford
- Kissing Man: Chris Roberts
- Old Woman in Corridor: Annie Batten
- Fast Food Kid 1: India Zorkovic
- Fast Food Kid 2: Isla Zorkovic
- Fast Food Kid 3: Charlie Crabtree
- Fast Food Kid 4: Ethan Grabis
- Fast Food Kid 5: Sophie Allan
- Casting: Nikki Barrett
- Sound Effects Editor: Frank Lipson
- ADR Mixer: Andrew McGrath
- Writer: Jennifer Kent
- Original Music Composer: Jed Kurzel
- Director of Photography: Radek Ładczuk
- Production Design: Alex Holmes
- Prosthetics: Justin Dix
- Digital Intermediate Colorist: Marty Pepper
- Data Wrangler: Dimitri Zaunders
- Sound Recordist: Des Kenneally
- Costume Design: Heather Wallace
- First Assistant Editor: Sean Lahiff
- Foley Artist: John Simpson
- Set Designer: Ross Perkin
- Still Photographer: Matt Nettheim
- Producer: Kristina Ceyton
- Producer: Kristian Moliere
- Production Coordinator: Judi Oehme
- Second Unit Director of Photography: Nima Nabili Rad
- Editor: Simon Njoo
- Set Decoration: Jennifer Drake
- Steadicam Operator: Louis Puli
- Art Direction: Karen Hannaford
- Makeup Supervisor: Tracy Phillpot
- Makeup & Hair: Marion Lee
- Scenic Artist: John Haratzis
- Special Effects Coordinator: Clint Dodd
- Stunt Coordinator: Reg Roordink
- Gaffer: Robertto Karas
- Additional Camera: Michael Fairbairn
- Script Supervisor: Taera Shroff
- Location Manager: Scott McDonald
- Unit Publicist: Chris Chamberlin
- Casting Associate: Natalie Wall
- First Assistant Director: Dimitri Ellerington
- First Assistant Camera: Gerard Maher
- Gaffer: Zac Murphy
- ADR Mixer: Tara Webb
- ADR Mixer: Pete Best
- Focus Puller: Frank Hruby
- Clapper Loader: Maxx Corkindale
- Boom Operator: Marco Arlotta
- Sound Re-Recording Mixer: Pete Smith
- First Assistant Director: Brad Lanyon
- Grip: Ben Walsh
- Production Accountant: Mark Kraus
- Makeup & Hair: Sue Carroll
- Art Department Assistant: Conor Reid
- Assistant Camera: Adam Camporeale
- Assistant Camera: Jordan Agutter
- Grip: Chris Davies
- Key Grip: Mike Smith
- Costume Assistant: Kim O’Mallon
- Wardrobe Assistant: Vicki Nhieu
- Art Department Assistant: Kelly Rivett
- Art Department Assistant: Aimée-Lee Curran
- Construction Manager: Paul Spencer
- Prop Maker: Richard Chataway
- Prop Maker: Michael Cusack
- Prop Maker: Wesley Champion
- Assistant Editor: Kasra Rassoulzadegan
- Production Secretary: Gemma Salomon
- Title Designer: James Boorman
- ADR Mixer: Scott Illingworth
- John Chard: Ba Ba-Ba Dook! Dook! Dook!
The Babadook is written and directed by Jennifer Kent. It stars Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall and Hayley McElhinney. Music is by Jed Kurzel and cinematography by Radek Ladczuk.
Amelia is a single mother still haunted by the violent death of her husband, she is trying to deal with her young son Samuel’s fear of a monster in the house. Initially tolerating it as a flight of fancy, the arrival of a book in the youngster’s bedroom called Mr. Babadook, signals the start of a sinister presence that she herself can begin to fear as well.
Australia has been producing some great horror films in the last couple of decades, The Babadook is one of the best of the bunch. Jennifer Kent made it as a 10 minute short back in 2005 called Monster, itself a super piece of horror film making, now in full feature length form (Kent’s first), the vision and intelligence explodes off the screen in every frame.
The premise at the core is not exactly fresh, but Kent manages to make The Babadook its own entity, skilfully steering away from formula jolts and terrors. Which in this day and age of horror retreads, sequel frenzies and blood for blood’s sake, is most refreshing. This is a big character piece, a two hander of incredible emotional power, a mother and son dealing with their own demons before the eponymous Babadook enters the fray. We care about this pair of troubled souls, so much so that as we start to feel the dread, get the tingles down the spine, our hearts are also aching for them. The two performances of the actors quite simply magnificent.
Mr. Babadook is a pop-up picture book that suddenly arrives into their lives. The creature is a sort of cross between a German expressionistic nightmare and Jack the Ripper. The book itself is creepy enough in its own right, more so as it starts to take on a more terrifying tone – and Amelia proves unsuccessful at getting rid of the thing – the picture starts playing its ace psychological cards. The monster is kept mostly to the edges of the frames, or just popping up for a quick glance in unexpected places, this is a great move and suits the narrative perfectly.
The tech credits are top notch. A key aspect to getting the most out of The Babadook is to make sure the sound is loud, for the sound mix is tremendous and can bring pounds of gooseflesh rising up on your arms. Ladczuk’s photography is at one with the themes pulsing away in the story, the colours paled and cheerless, enhancing the fractured psyches of mother and son, but Mr. Babadook is a jet black presence in this landscape. All told the art design from the book to the house and the creature is excellent.
Umbrella’s Australian All Region Blu-ray Release has a super transfer and does justice to the sound mix. There’s over an hour of interviews, which are a mixed bag of informative chat and back slapping, a 12 minute behind the scenes making of and some trailers. The bonus is the 10 minute short, Monster, The Babadook in its infancy but no less scary for it.
The Babadook is a superlative horror film for adults, like when Polanski met Kubrick and they decided to pay homage to Fritz Lang and George Melies. Yes it’s that good. 10/10
- Gimly: The best pure-horror of the year. But that’s not saying much.
Final rating:★★★ – I liked it. Would personally recommend you give it a go.
- r96sk: ‘The Babadook’ is a well done horror film, one that is most definitely creepy.
I would’ve liked more from the monster and how it works, though the film does give you enough and certainly does a fine job at building up the atmosphere of uneasiness that the thing produces. One great part I noticed is the sound editing, which is astutely crafted throughout.
Essie Davis does terrific in the role of Amelia, she shows every emotion that her character is feeling nicely – I felt her pain initially with the kid, too. Noah Wiseman plays her son, Samuel. He is actually quite impressive given his age, there are a few scenes where he adds a fair deal to them.
It’s hearty, suspenseful and attempts proper horror as opposed to forcing things like jump scares, which I will always praise a production in this genre for. I wanted a little more, but overall I like this.