The Babadook ★★★½

The Babadook is structured jarringly, and is a rigidly choreographed film as set pieces exist functioning as awkwardly as possible yet the film itself is elastic, like the cute little cartoons Amelia watches, the film can be stretched and moulded to Jennifer Kent's will - not only because she creates a wonderfully dimensional film about repressed anger and fear but because she chose to create this film in the realm of the horror genre.

Admittedly there are some forgiveable tropes used for a sort of preliminary dipping of the toe, but once the film gets going, and the ball gets rolling, Kent's ideas (and there are many of them) sprout out like horrible ugly tree branches.

I say tree branches because a scene reminded me of them. Not because there were any literal branches but the illusion they can sometimes have - the effect of being something else; mostly in the form of a shadow, but yes, it's a moment often seen, or depicted from the point of view of the child - they see the shadow of a tree and its branches, and it comes across as ghoulish and horrid and unnatural yet a tree and its shadow is as natural as anything. The natural fear of a child impregnates a fragile Amelia whose coping mechanisms systematically begin to falter and she becomes embroiled in a twisted jerked narrative involving the ticking time-veil of Mister Babadook.

A particularly interesting aspect of The Babadook is the universal appeal of it. To mothers' for sure, and for parents' definitely. Every little child goes through a phase of being a little shit and no doubt a temporary temporal warp could come in handy - but it's the ubiquity of their little shit phase (that almost lasts forever in some cases it seems) that constantly prods and pokes at the poor parents' and very likely, their sanity. The film is however, still blatantly overhyped!

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