Bendik Kaalaas’s review published on Letterboxd:
I was interested to see how The Babadook managed to balance the psychological thriller aspect with the straight up horror genre, and I was pretty pleased with it. I've read mostly positive reviews about it, so I didn't expect anything less, even though I'm not the biggest horror fan in the world.
Thankfully, it avoids many of the modern horror clichés, most notably the uninspired jump scare. When a horror movie really works is when you're expecting something to jump out, but it doesn't happen, and that's how The Babadook manages to build suspense and tension. Some of the scenes were really unsettling, and the slow build towards the climax was well done.
Essie Davis in the leading role is especially impressive, dealing with immense grief and pill abuse, and a son whose fear of monsters becomes a huge problem when his behaviour starts to get more aggresive. If I were to compare Davis' performance to anything, Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream comes to mind, both characters of course struggling with a form of paranoia, and the hallucinations that come with it.
I liked this, it definitely creeped me out, but it could've been scarier obviously. I also found the kid so annoying in parts of the first half of the movie that it took me out of it slightly, even though he was decent enough for a child actor. Other than that, The Babadook is a well executed psychological horror by débutant director Jennifer Kent.