Joe Zappulla’s review published on Letterboxd:
"You can't get rid of the Babadook"
The Babadook won the oh so very prestigious award of being the best horror movie of 2014 for me for two reasons, first off, it's the only horror movie I have seen from last year (and the only one I had any desire to watch), and it's rooted in psychological horror rather than cheap jump scares, which is perfect for me. I hate the ongoing trend of scary movies relying on jump scares, mainly because I have the courage of about a 6 year old. I would like to watch a movie and not have my finger perpetually on the volume button, ready to mute the film as soon I think a jump scare could be eminent. Also they just don't make a good movie. Sure jump scares are scary for the one second they happen, but they don't stick with the viewer. A seed of dread and fear is not planted in the audience, a seed that will grow into full fear and paranoia once they are in their beds and the lights are off. They don't create a fear of actually scary things, but instead create a fear of corners, and of gradually crescendoing violin music. So yeah, the Babadook doesn't have those. That's nice.
I was still really scared of it, but again that's because I have the courage of a puppy during a thunderstorm. It's more of a psychological character study than a horror movie which I really liked. It was about grief and stress of motherhood more than the babadook itself. It's about the downward spiral of calamity caused from being a single mother with the child from hell. In that way, it reminded me of a much more linear Eraserhead.
Jennifer Kent's directorial debut was very impressive. Her direction was great, her script was very solid. She got wonderful performances out of the two main actors. Essie Davis really added a whole new level of horror through her brutal reactions and emotional transformation throughout the film. Noah Wiseman was equally as impressive because he is so young. I was really surprised by how creepy his performance was. He is very very annoying, but that is clearly one of the purposes of the film. The score was eerie when it needed to be. The editing was frantic when it needed to be. The cinematography didn't stand out that much though to me with this viewing, except for the very well orchestrated sequence with the pop-ups in the Babadook (if that even counts as cinematography, I don't think it does). The ending was a tad weird, but that doesn't mean its a bad thing.
The Babadook is a great film, and by far my favorite horror movie of 2014. The only real thing that took me out of the incredibly creepy atmosphere would be when this infomercial segment came on the TV. I actually had to pause it because I couldn't stop laughing.
The Babadook debuts at #13 on my 2014 Ranked List