The Babadook ★★★★½

Essie Davis' performance as a sleep-deprived, exhausted mother who can't hack it anymore is jaw-droppingly authentic. Give her all of the awards already. Noah Wiseman, who's rightly unhinged as her son Samuel, has a piercingly loud set of tonsils. Their destructive relationship is difficult to watch yet ultimately nourishing in the subtext of protection and matriarchal love.

The sound design is thunderously strong, the score is eerily unsettling and the tension is frighteningly palpable. Writer/director Jennifer Kent also drenches it all in artful production design, spot-on editing, uncomfortable close-ups and specifically crafted hand-drawn book imagery which comes to vivid life.

Witty moments also abound in the George Méliès commercials on a TV set, too. And that's including other nighttime ads by magicians. Then, a stunner-shock of screeching intensity, as the cockroaches crawl over Amelia's lap in the car. Total goosebumps.

Yeah, just wow. The Babadook may be steeped in a familiar supernatural specter, but it's done so well, via character exploration. It'll linger after as a portrayal of depressing, grief-stricken woman madness.

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