If a horror movie doesn’t scare you, then what else does it offer?
Adam Johnston of Yourmoviesucks.org once said that, and since then it’s made me watch horror movies differently. Instead of looking at them in terms of “it scared other people, so therefore I’ll give it points because of that,” I look at it in terms of “If it doesn’t scare me, I should be able to appreciate other things about it.” In the case of The Babadook, it didn’t scare me. Did it have anything else to offer? Not exactly.
There isn’t nothing here, but there isn’t a lot. At the very least, it looks great, and the lead actress does a fantastic job. It decently conveys themes of loss and creeping insanity, but that’s about it. The rest is either painfully average or straight-up stupid. The little boy is one of the most annoying children to ever touch the art of cinema. This is mostly because we aren’t supposed to like him. We are later, but here’s the problem. Because he spent the first hour constantly screaming, I didn’t care about him when I was supposed to. Speaking of constant screaming, that’s the majority of the first hour. He has a tantrum, she tries to not have a tantrum, he does something bad, everyone hates the both of them, repeat. By the time the scares came around, I was thoroughly disinterested.
I’ve seen maybe one horror movie that’s scared me. I don’t expect every horror movie to be able to do that, but I at least want other things to appreciate. For Alien, it was an ensemble of interesting characters, incredible set design, and well-crafted tension. For It Follows, it was exquisite camerawork, a fantastic lead, and well-crafted tension. For Split, it had James McAvoy, beautiful shots, and well-crafted tension. Sensing a pattern? Tension is everything, and The Babadook simply doesn’t have that. I was constantly taken out of the movie by either the kid, the kid screaming, how silly the Babadook looks, bad CG, clichés, or a horrible amalgamation of all of these things at once. If this movie scares you, you’ll probably like it. If it doesn’t, give it a pass. But I suppose the only way to find out is to watch it, isn’t it?
5/10.Connect to me