The Babadook ★★★★½

The Babadook terrified the dookie out of me. Jennifer Kent's directorial debut is a fascinating and gut-wrenching psychological character study with a tremendous acting performance from Essie Davis. It's delicate, complex work and she delivers in every aspect of her character's descent into her own grief-stricken hell. Even the child actor Noah Wiseman does work well beyond his years. He is just the right balance of sympathetic and infuriating. The visuals and editing are snappy and off-kilter and really get you into the mindset of the film, especially how time comes and goes in the blink of an eye. There are some disturbing images of the Babadook that will stick in your mind and the way the entity is handled is quite stunning and creepy. The dread it invites is tangible. The metaphors on display are overt, but it works well with the film's intimate scope. This is easily THE horror film of the year (not like there is much competition), and Jennifer Kent is a bright new talent with a fresh voice. A sturdy first effort all-around.

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