Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Babadook - 2014

This was not going to be an entry, believe me.  I kind of want to go back and delete some of my old entries, for movies that "don't count" but I also am always thinking, it doesn't matter anyways.  But there's that part of me that thinks, "what if people actually do start reading my website, and they wonder wtf is up with me reviewing Nightcrawler on a website called Grindhouse Review?"  Look, simpleton, this website abides by no rules.  It just is.  The exception is not the rule.  Just cause I review some non-Grindhouse movies does not mean I don't get to name my site that.  Besides how boring would this be if I only reviewed the same fuckin 100 something movies every other cult, grindhouse, B horror, etc blog is reviewing??

You can see a review of Rocky Horror on just about every single website ever.  Fuck, that shit's been talked about in the Wall Street Journal.  C'mon.  I wanted to be on the outskirts.  You know, the fucking Lone Gunman.  Like in X-Files.  How cool would it be to actually be in a group like that??  Some brilliant dudes on the outskirts, fighting the government, friends with the FBI...man I love that fuckin show.  BTW, new X-Files are coming, in case you live under a rock.

The Babadook is a film that will surely become a "cult classic".  This must be placed in quotations because new films cannot become cult for at least ten to twenty years.  They have to survive the test of time.  But I do actually think this one will.  Now, I don't want to say it's the best film ever and give it some giant ringing endorsement, but this movie does deserve praise.

The best thing about horror, as I've said again and again, is the fear of the unknown.  That as well as atmosphere.  Get the unknown, the atmosphere, and then the music and acting, and your film will work.  This film has all of that done expertly.  It's not going to redefine horror as it is, but it takes a fairly simple idea, runs with it, and does it well.  In a world where horror films are escalating their shock value, the blood and guts and "jump" factor, this one dares to take horror back to it's creepy beginnings, where just being weird was enough, and you don't GET to jump.  Rather, you have to imagine, and let your mind scare you more than anything else.

Like nudity, it's what you don't see.  People like lingerie for a reason.  Sure, I like a good ol' naked chick too, but I'd much rather see a slinky striptease.  People know that, as quoted by Jackie Treehorn in The Big Lebowski "The brain is the biggest erogenous zone", well I argue it's the same with horror, except instead of erogenous, uh, scariest??  Well yeah, it was a far way to go to make that quote work.

The Babadook took a genre I hate, kids in horror movies, and made it good.  Like I said it's simple.  Mother and child are isolated.  Enter the threat, this time in form of a bizarre children's book titled "The Babadook" that one day is just on the kid's shelf like all the others.  It's off kilter story and drawings are too dark, they scare the mother and she decides not to read the rest.  After reading the book, the child starts acting strangely, is actively scared all the time, and says he is seeing the Babadook.  The mother of course thinks the child is just a dick, and throws out the book.  But there is no stopping The Babadook.

The movie moves along mostly as expected, the only differing twist would be the bizarre ending.  I understand these type of ideas are generally hard to end, they either have to defeat the monster or die.  But in defeating said monster, usually there is a confrontation.  In that there is closure, and this film I think wanted to avoid that.  So the ending is a bit weird and I didn't exactly like it, but I understand why it ended the way it did.  The film does what I love which is to leave things not quite right, and kinda say fuck you to it's audience.

The Babadook itself relies mostly on the sound for it's scares.  Okay, sure there are some vision effects too, but the trailer and the movie are heavily based on the sounds of the creature itself and the music.  The music in the movie is awesome.  The score is creepy, interesting, dynamic, and unique.  The sounds of the Babadook, however, are dumb.  Like when you do a "croaky frog" voice, it's lame.  But I guess unique, and apparently people online found it scary, so whatevs.

All in all, for being a good horror film, and being unique, I wanted to give it 4 stars.  I feel like, in retrospect, it might only deserve 3, but I'll go with my first thought.  Also, the kid actor in the film was really good.  One of the best I've ever seen actually.

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