2013, 95 minutes, color, Australia
“Do you want to die?!” seven-year-old Samuel asks his stressed-out single mother, Amelia. She wonders if his question is a threat or a warning. After dealing with Samuel’s frantic tantrums his entire life, Amelia suspects that her son has begun directing his violent misbehavior toward her. However, after a dark and foreboding children’s book called Mister Babadook mysteriously appears on Samuel’s bookshelf, Amelia must decide if her son is truly deranged, or if there really is a bogeyman lurking in their darkened halls at night.
First-time feature director Jennifer Kent vividly captures the vicious turbulence of Samuel’s shrill outbursts, generating a real sense of horror from his aggressive unruliness, all the while subtly hinting at the weary Amelia’s own deeply troubled nature. The Babadook builds up tension and dread in this damaged family’s home before deftly introducing the terrifying possibility that something even more ominous may be stalking the dysfunctional pair.
Director: Jennifer Kent
Screenwriter: Jennifer Kent
Producers: Kristina Ceyton, Kristian Moliere
Executive Producers: Jan Chapman, Jonathan Page, Michael Tear, Jeff Harrison
Cinematographer: Radek Ladzcuk
Production Designer: Alex Holmes
Editor: Simon Njoo
Composer: Jed Kurzel
Principal Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, Ben Winspear