Film: The Babadook
Director: Jennifer Kent
Writer: Jennifer Kent
Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman and Daniel Henshall
This film begins filling us in on what happened through a nightmare. We have a woman, who is played by Essie Davis. She was in a car accident with her husband while she was pregnant. The husband was killed and the son was born that day. The son is played by Noah Wiseman. He comes into his mother’s room telling her that he had a nightmare. She goes into his room to check for a monster and afterwards, he sleeps in bed with her. We see that keeps her from getting sleep herself.
Davis works a nurse in a retirement home. She is struggling with being tired. A co-worker shows interest in her, he is played by Daniel Henshall. Davis is informed that her son’s school is calling her. Wiseman makes weapons and is into magic. He brought a make-shift gun that shoots darts to school. They want to put the boy in a special class by himself. Davis won’t have this and pulls him out of school.
That night, Davis allows Wiseman to pick out the book she will read him to go to bed. The one he chooses is one she hasn’t seen before called The Bababook. It is a pop-up book with pull slides in it. The book though is quite scary and it ends up upsetting Wiseman. There is another sleepless night for Davis.
Davis’ sister is played by Hayley McElhinney. The two of them go to a park with their kids and we start to get that the McElhinney and her daughter do not care for Wiseman. He is quite needy, loud and unruly. McElhinney does allow the boy to come over during the day since he isn’t in school. Davis tells him not to speak of the Bababook and that he isn’t real.
Davis goes to work and is having a rough day. She is caught being rude to the residents. Henshall does tell her that he will cover for her to go home. She decides to go and have a relaxing day to herself. When she checks her phone though, she has ten missed calls from her sister. Davis goes to her house to find her son by himself in the yard. He was talking to something and it freaked McElhinney out.
Davis continually tries to convince Wiseman that the Bababook is not real and that it is something in his head. He has a seizure while they are driving home and he is taken to the doctor. Davis begs the doctor to give her something for him to sleep. He is reluctant, but does write her a script.
She starts to see things herself though. The book she had hid on top of her bureau and somehow Wiseman got it back. She then threw it away, ripping all the pages out of it. There is knocking at the door and she finds the book on her doorstep. The pages are taped back together and there is more to the story this time. There are images of the mother killing their dog, son and herself. She starts to see images of the creature from the book on television as well as thinking she sees it in person.
Is this creature real? Or is she losing her mind? Can she figure this out before it is too late or will the book come true that the Bababook can’t be stopped?
Now I really wanted to see this film when it first came out and hadn’t had a chance. I heard from horror podcasts that I listen to as well that this film was good, so I was intrigued. I do have to say that I agree with them, this film is really good. The story of this was interesting to me. I like the idea of this book that is about the creature, but it doesn’t give really much background. It is creepier seeing the images and it being geared toward children. I love that the mother doesn’t think it is real, but she isn’t sleeping. She slowly descends into madness and it makes you start to wonder, is the creature real or has she lost it. The concept of the Bababook getting inside of her helps to make it ambiguous as well. I will say though that I was disappointed by the ending. I didn’t like how it played out.
I will say that for the acting, it was good. Davis does a great job. I feel horrible for her and know that when you aren’t sleeping how irritable and how hard it would be to function. The longer it goes on, the worse she got and it is quite believable. Wiseman was extremely annoying and got on my nerves. I almost wanted his character to get murdered by how bad he was, but his acting was good. He was supposed to play the character this way and he did an excellent job of it. The rest of the cast doesn’t really have a lot to do in this film, but they round it out just fine.
Next I want to talk about the creature in this film. I think he looks great. We don’t get to see him a lot, it is only glimpses and I love that. It makes it that much scarier. I did find it interesting as well that he was modeled after Lon Chaney from London After Midnight. There aren’t a lot of effects really in the film, but the ones that are done look good so I have no issues there. The editing of this film is really good as well. They incorporated a lot of cartoons and edited the creature into things on television. Some of these were really creepy to me and I liked it. The score didn’t stand out to me, but there were some scenes that it did and it really helped the mood of the scene.
Now with that said, I would recommend this film. The story and concept of the film are well done. I did have issues with the ending though. The acting is very good. The editing of the film was well done. The creature looked really good and the score doesn’t always stand out, but when it does, it makes the scenes that much creepier. I would say that this is a very good film overall and definitely worth a viewing.
My Rating: 8 out of 10
Director: Andy Muschietti
Writer: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman
Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher and Finn Wolfhard
This film begins showing us two boys inside a room. The older boy is sick and played by Jaeden Lieberher. He is making a paper boat for his younger brother, played by Jackson Robert Scott. Lieberher tells him that to complete it; he needs Scott to go to the basement to get wax. Scott is scared of the basement, but does get what he is supposed to. Lieberher uses it to seal the paper and allow it float. Scott takes the boat out and puts it in the water that is draining toward the storm drains. He hits his head and his boat gets a lead on him, going into one of these drains. He thinks it is forever lost when Pennywise, the dancing clown, appears. He is played by Bill Skarsgård. He isn’t what he seems though and attacks Scott.
We jump almost a year into the future. We meet another boy who works on a farm with his grandpa. The boy is played by Chosen Jacobs. His parents have passed away and he is asked to kill the sheep on the farm with an air gun. He can’t do it and his grandfather scolds him for it.
The film then shifts to school for the last day and we meet the rest of the cast. Lieberher hangs out with Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer and Wyatt Oleff. Wolfhard is the comedian of the group. Grazer is a hypochondriac who has an overbearing mother and Oleff is a Jewish kid who is afraid of pretty much everything. We are also introduced to Sophia Lillis. She smokes and is bullied by the other girls. They spread rumors that she sleeps with everyone. There is also Jeremy Ray Taylor, who is a heavy-set new kid. Lillis is nice to him and warns him where the bullies are. Taylor has a huge crush on her.
We see Lieberher and his group have a run in with a local bully and his friends. The bully is played by Nicholas Hamilton. His friends are Jake Sim, Logan Thompson and Owen Teague. Hamilton has held off on Lieberher due to his brother going missing. We learn that there is a curfew for the city and a lot of children have been going missing. Hamilton goes to hit Lieberher when an officer looks over and stops him. This turns out to be the bully’s dad, played by Stuart Hughes.
All of these kids have run-ins with Hamilton. We see one with Jacobs where he goes down an alley to avoid him. When he does he sees something behind a locked door that reminds him of his past. When it opens, he sees Skarsgård. He is almost killed by Hamilton and that’s when he notices it isn’t real.
The rest of the group one by one has their encounters with Skarsgård. Taylor does research on this since he didn’t have friends and being the new kid. He learns that there is a high average of kids turning up missing here, much higher than the national average. What is going on here? Who is Skarsgård really? Can he be stopped or will these kids become another one of his victims?
Now I want to admit that I went a little bit vaguer in this synopsis than I normally want to, but I watched this film on the Thursday that it came out and didn’t want to spoil anything for those that haven’t seen it yet and are reading this. Plus on top of that, I have read the book and really enjoyed the original film, so I might have the tendency to fill in things that might not be explicit in the film and potentially spoil. Anyways, with that said, I loved this film. I thought he director Andy Muschietti and the writers, Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman, did a great job at keeping the tone and feel of the original Stephen King novel, but updating it to 1989. Where the original was quite faithful to the novel, this film changes most of what happens, but keeps a lot of the important interactions there. I actually really like that they did that. It is hard, especially with fans of the original, to make a shot for shot remake. What they did with this film still made this very scary while adding humor when needed to lightly the mood. I was highly impressed with the story, the ending and how it all played out.
The acting from this film is amazing. I was concerned with Skarsgård and his portrayal of a character like Pennywise when Tim Curry killed it in the original. I think what is best is how Skarsgård plays it. He is going for much creepier where Curry went for a more comedic play. Skarsgård was fantastic. I actually think that the acting in this across the board was great as well. Lieberher really did great at playing the leader of the group and making his shutter seem real. I did find it interesting that his film changed Jacobs’ character from being new as well to being a homeschooled kid. It is also interesting that Jacobs’ character isn’t the one doing the research, but Taylor is. None of these changes really bother me, except that they really make Jacobs’ character obsolete in my opinion until the beginning of the end.
For this, I will touch upon the effects first. I thought they were very well done. If this film had CGI, I couldn’t tell and for me that means if it is there, it was extremely well done. They do some things with Skarsgård that really ramped up the tension and fear. The editing I thought was very close to being perfect as well. For a film that is 2 hours and 15 minutes long, I didn’t notice it. They have it paced where the action starts right up. Even when there isn’t interaction with Skarsgård, it is still building the tension with the story. I was highly impressed. I will admit that the score of the film didn’t stand out, but I know I felt it when scenes were tense.
Now with that said, I would highly recommend seeing this film. I was very impressed with what I said. This isn’t a shot-for-shot remake and actually changes most everything from the book and the original film, but it did it in a way that keeps King’s tone and still very scary. I thought the acting across the board was great. The editing of the film makes it feel fast despite its running time and builds tension until the climax. The effects of the film were good and the score, though it didn’t stand out to me, was good in making the scenes tense. The only negative I would say is that I know there is second half that hasn’t been released yet so that will bring my rating down a full point. Once that comes out and I can watch them both, I have a feeling this will go up. I would tell everyone to see this film, horror fan or not, because I think it is that well done.
My Rating: 9 out of 10
Number 1: Beast of the Yellow Night (1971)
Satan saves Ashley from death on condition he become his disciple (and, as it turns out, a hairy murderous beast). This horror film comes from the Philippines and the United States in the year 1971.
Number 2: Blood Orgy of the She-Devils (1973)
Lorraine and Mark enter the world of witchcraft where Mara foretells the future and helps them remember their past lives. When a series of mysterious murders begin to occur, they turn to Dr. Helsford for advice. This horror, thriller is from the United States from the year 1973.
Number 3: Blood Freak (1972)
A biker comes upon a girl with a flat tire and offers her a ride home. He winds up at a drug party with the girl's sister, then follows her to a turkey farm owned by her father, a mad scientist. The father turn the biker into a giant turkey monster who goes after drug dealers. This horror, sci-fi film is the from the United States in the year 1972.
Number 4: Bloody Murder (2000)
Plans for a summer filled with fun and romance turn to terror for a group of young counselors. This drama, horror, thriller film come from the United States from 2000.
Number 5: Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)
Count Dracula and his wife capture beautiful young women and chain them to their dungeon, to be used when they need to satisfy their thrist for blood. This horror film is the United States from the year 1969.
Number 6: Billy the Kid Versus Dracula (1966)
Dracula travels to the American West, intent on making a beautiful ranch owner his next victim. Her fiance, outlaw Billy the Kid, finds out about it and rushes to save her. This action, drama, horror, western film is from the United States from the year 1966.
Number 7: BloodRayne: Deliverance (2007)
Rayne, the half-human/half-vampire warrior, ventures to America's 1880's Wild West to stop the vampired Billy the Kid and his posse of vampire cowboys. This action, fantasy, western film is from Canada and Germany from the year 2007.
Number 8: Bite Me! (2004)
When a hybrid strain of bio-engineered marijuana is delivered to a secluded strip club, it brings with it a monstrous army of insect creatures and a renegade U.S. federal agent with a big chip on his shoulder. Soon the stealthy, fist-sized bugs are busily engorging themselves on human blood, their bite effecting a particularly potent narcotic reaction in those attacked. This horror film is from the United States in the year 2004.