The Babadook ★★★★½

The Babadook is the rare modern horror film that employs familiar genre tactics to express and explore deeper themes and emotions than just simply fright. It's about grief and letting go, the fear of losing one's identity, and the terrors of modern parenthood. It's also an incredibly unsettling creature show, enhanced by the magnificently disturbing design of the fairy tale boogeyman that haunts the protagonist and her child.

The movie is boosted by the wonderful lead performance of Essie Davis, who is as good as anyone in this type of role that I can recall. And the soundtrack is horror perfection, used to enforce the creepy mood The Babadook establishes within its first minutes. It is refreshingly devoid of the depressingly overused tactic of violins slowly building to telegraph a series of jump scares.

That is one of many ways the movie consistently exceeded all of my expectations. Every time I feared it would fall into familiar traps and and ruin the potential of an emotionally intelligent horror, The Babadook failed to disappoint me. It's easily one of my favorites of the year, and probably one of the better horror films in the last few years.

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