A seemingly innocuous book becomes the source of nightmares for a widow and her son in Jennifer Kent’s (The Nightingale) outstanding Australian horror film.
Amelia (the ever brilliant Essie Davis, True History of the Kelly Gang, Babyteeth) lives in Adelaide with her troubled six-year-old son Samuel (Noah Wiseman). One night, he asks her to read him a book called Mister Babadook. Soon after, a strange force enters the house, threatening to consume the boy. No one will listen to Amelia when she pleads for help, so she decides to take on the presence, at any cost. Kent’s film is at the vanguard of a wave of horror films by female directors, who include Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), Julia Ducorneau (Raw), Jovanka Vuckovic (Riot Girls), Alice Lowe (Prevenge) and Jen Wexler (The Ranger). Regarded as the best Australian films of the 2010s by many critics, The Babadook presents a perfect spin on the haunted house narrative.
★★★★ “Leaves behind it a satisfyingly toxic residue of fear” - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
★★★★★ “A hideous mix of Struwwelpeter, Nosferatu, Willy Wonka, Freddy Krueger and the Child Catcher” - Kim Newman, Empire