The Babadook ****

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“The Babadook” is the best horror film of 2014. Considering that it has been a terrible year for that genre in general that might not be saying much but this is a truly terrifying and powerful movie. It contains one of the best performances of the year by Essie Davis.

The plot involves a single mother named Amelia (Essie Davis) who is struggling to raise her son Sam who has started displaying erratic behaviour involving injuring other children. One night Sam asks his mother to read from a mysterious pop-up book he has on his shelf. It is titled “Mister Babadook and is about a supernatural menace who torments his victims indefinitely once they have seen him. Eventually Sam becomes convinced that the Babadook is stalking them in their home.

Not surprisingly strange events start happening throughout the house. At first Amelia suspects that it is Sam but eventually she starts having mysterious visions of a monster. Eventually a supernatural force takes her over forcing her to try and kill her son. Eventually mother and son end up in a fight for survival against the evil Babadook.

All of this is written and directed by Jennifer Kent, who really knows how to blend realistic drama into a more traditional haunted house movie. The results are frightening and engrossing.

All of this is brought together by a performance by Essie Davis that is for the ages. Watching her struggle with her son is heartbreaking. When she ends up possessed by the Babadook she becomes a horrific force. Eventually she must rip the Babadook out of her mind and soul in a series of scenes that will disturb and haunt you.

If you seek out horror movies from the year 2014 you will find this movie high on the list of people who are junkies for this genre. They are not lying when they tell you that this is a great film. In a time when studio movies are dumping millions of dollars in to films with cheap scares it is good to see real artists who still want to create something that scares you as opposed to making you jump.

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