The Babadook ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Ahhhhhhh holy shit, this was so much better on rewatch + in a theater. Wow. I finally understood all the hype. THE BABADOOK operates on a level where you need to make yourself 'captive' in its grasp. Jennifer Kent's actualized vision is so much stronger without distractions and with the full extent of immersion, that every brush of sound, each intricate teasing of the titular monster resonates, peeves, and scares. There's power to this film that you just can't get out of a laptop screen and headphones. Essie Davis' performance is gigantic and terrifying, a real thrill among the ranks of Mia Farrow or Linda Blair. Though I noticed still the overt references to other harrowed horror classics (i.e. Samuel's similarity to Damien in the original OMEN, Amelia's wardrobe of nightgowns or sterile clinic-wear echoing ROSEMARY'S BABY), I was really taken with how much David Lynch's early short films could've influenced this. The spewed black bile of THE ALPHABET, the garish smile of the protagonist glaring at her shaken self through a distorted television window, the tangibility/metaphorical stature of the beast. The heavy-handed metaphor of THE BABADOOK's horror actually works pretty excellently; there's a believable manifestation of grief and hatred here. Naturally, ~love and acceptance~ is always the answer. Similarly, keeping your formerly insurmountable grievances in the locked basement of your life, defeated and in submission, is always recommended.

Other notes:
-Isn't it also chilling how much the Babadook itself resembles a magician, the object of Samuel's primary interest/hobby?
-Noah Wiseman is a GREAT kid actor!
-This movie is really pretty sad, more than scary. Psychological affectations handled deftly and with maturity. The docile ending feels particularly deserved after the devastating final 'showdown'.
-Loved any/all of the voyages into the surreal, where Kent has a particularly jolly time obfuscating reality.

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