The Babadook ★★★★½

* minor spoilers *

The story of Amelia, a mother who is forced to raise her son Sam alone after her husband is killed in a car accident on the day of Sam's birth.

One day, they discover a book, the titular 'Babadook,' in their home. Amelia reads this new story, which becomes increasingly disturbing, aloud to Sam one evening, at which point Sam becomes incredibly agitated. Shortly thereafter, Amelia begins to hear and see things which she ascribes to the book.

As these visions become worse, Amelia slowly begins to slowly alienate her family, friends, and even her son, with her erratic behavior.

The Babadook is obviously an allegory to the struggle of coping with mental illness, and I found it to be an effective storytelling device here. The film is highly atmospheric, thanks to some great sound design, wonderful cinematography, and clever editing.

I can certainly see why viewers seem to either really like the film or really dislike it, and although I see why some might find the two lead characters off-putting, I found their behaviors to be quite fitting here.

I'll be looking forward to seeing what the future brings from first-time director Jennifer Kent, as I felt this was an excellent first effort.

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