Haunted Houses

The Babadook 15

The Babadook

In this expertly unsettling horror, Australian director Jennifer Kent exerts a masterly control over this tense supernatural tale about a children’s book that one single mother should never have opened.

Widowed Amelia (Essie Davis) is struggling to cope with both the loss of her husband and welfare of her six-year-old son Samuel (Noah Wiseman), who is terrified of imaginary monsters. So when a strange children’s book, Mr. Babadook, inspires Samuel to a nightmarish fantasy, gradually Amelia comes to share his fear and believe that the book’s monster is persecuting her family.

A near masterpiece of unease, this tale of slowly enveloping dread manages to pop the hairs on the back of your neck with a genuinely alarming sense of potency. Switching your dread from a focus on the bogeyman to that of the human psyche, this wonderfully hand-crafted chiller delivers real, seat-grabbing jolts whilst also touching on more serious themes of loss, grief and other demons that can’t be so easily vanquished.