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Rating: ***** (five out of five)
Year: 2014

Plot: Somewhat appealing and somewhat off-putting widow can barely put up with her fatherless son. While the kid *can* be cute, he spends most of his adolescent days creating weapons of mass destruction to fight boogeymen. While it probably started off as cute-noying, after reading a surprisingly terrifying children’s book at bedtime, his out lashings become downright lethal. As disturbing vignettes in the book start to manifest themselves in real life, you must ask yourself: is this mother suffering the effects of prolonged sleep withdrawal and shitty-son-ishness, or is this shit really happening?

Review: The initial setup of the movie is very believable. The mother is so incredibly sympathetic. It is hard to imagine the burden of not only moving on after your husband’s death, but when you throw in the fact that you’re responsible for keeping his disturbed spawn alive… my gods the stress! The kid is actually pretty sympathetic as well… you can’t not be fucked up when your dad died the day you were born, can you? He understandably gets a lo-o-o-ot of slack for his behaviors, which keep on spiraling from weird to super-creepy, so the horror starts off at a very human level. When you throw in that demonically emotionally eviscerating reading of the book, shit is intensely dark and frightening.

As the scenes from the book start to take form and the child swims further into the deep end of insanity, my terror mounted exponentially. I’ve seen hundreds of horror movies. This was the first time in quite a while that I’ve felt genuinely scared. Once the demon begins to possess, the fear starts to subside (the known fear is always less scary than the unknown fear). That being said, the climax is still incredibly engaging. The ‘open-to-interpretation’ ending will be a great conversation starter for friends who’ve both seen the movie.

The horror genre (and especially this haunted house sub genre) is replete with repletion. Literally thousands of people have tried to tell some form of this story in some form, across the spectrum from the light parody to the truly depraved version. It’s all been done. And yet, somehow The Babadook found a way to retell this folktale in a way that is unique relatable, unpredictable, and genuinely spooky. This would be a great watch for horror dabblers, but a phenomenal watch for the connoisseurs.

Notable scene: When the pop-up book reappears and new pages have been penned, tell me you weren’t scared of what the next page would say!
Gore:            Buckets
Sex/Nudity: Nipples
Scariness:     Screams
Campiness:  Donald Pleasances
Creepiness:  Cellar Doors
Munchy Suggestion: Pumpkin Spice Oreos (that’s a thing now. Privileged white girls rejoice!)
For More: Information than you require about the flick, look here: Wiki or here: IMDB.
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