DirkH’s review published on Letterboxd:
Somebody hold me......
What a horror film does to you is always very personal. I tend to respond strongly to films that deal with the psychological side of horror, stuff that involves kids and stories in which we witness the protagonists slowly losing control of themselves.
The Babadook has all of that.
I love it when a horror film comes along that takes a completely standard horror template and manages to lure you in with tropes only to hit you over the head with its subversive ability to get under your skin.
Carried by outstanding performances, this starts out as a gripping drama only to fulfil its horror potential at the half way mark. The acting here really stands out and is paramount to its success. There is a constant feeling of unease, of something in the shadows, lurking, watching, waiting. It is that dread and the way it is conveyed by mother and son that had my nerves on end for the better part of the film.
In its metaphors is very blunt and rather simplistic but that's fine. It's about grief and about letting go and because it takes its time with a slow build up, establishing and investing in characters it just works. The Babadook is a formidable opponent for this mother and her son and to its credit, this film manages to do something no recent horror film managed to do. It made me give a shit.
I loved the Babadook. Loved its style, the talent involved and its ability to rattle me with its gripping content.