Jennifer Kent’s “The Babadook” Offers Smart, Thematic Terror

I cannot recommend watching first-time director Jennifer Kent’s Australian horror film The Babadook at night if you genuinely want to finish it. The terrifying atmosphere feels oppressive, to the point that the film almost encourages a viewer to throw in the towel and re-visit the film in the light of day (if ever). Minor tics from the characters manifest into horrible payoffs, but there are also just supremely creepy sequences that rival  the most chilling moments in any horror film. In addition, the narrative contains legitimate pathos, as we find ourselves caring about the characters’ respective arcs and struggles when we manage to peer through our fingers and actually see the screen.

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