Dan’s review published on Letterboxd:
A woman reads a scary book and it keeps terrorising her. How terrifying... Except it's not!
To give the film some credit, I applaud its use of psychological horror rather the cliche monster horror traits a lot of films have, i.e. load noises and gore. However we still get the stereotypical setting and themes horror films are all too familiar with which take the film down the brownie points that it earned: Gothic house, creepy kid, imaginary bugs, nightmare etc.
The overall plot relies on the made up story of a monster called 'The Babadook'. Yet the mythology of it is so lacking and undeveloped that its hard to be scared by a monster we know nothing about and barely see on screen. So little time is spent on setting up the antagonist that the main characters just seem to be scared over nothing.
Without the horror setting, the film could have been an interesting drama about a mother dealing with a son who suffers with adhd, since this is 80% of the film. The only interesting parts are revolved around this plot, with the monster plot getting in the way and becoming unnecessary. Essie Davis as the worn out and troubled mother puts in a fantastic performance, it's just a shame that the plot lets her down.
No real scares to be had and a plot that makes little sense and feels lacking and bland.