The Babadook

I'm not a big horror guy. I'm not particularly averse to any of the elements that make up a horror movie - gore, creepiness, startle-jumps, etc., I just tend to like those elements servicing other genres, not piled together without much else going on.

Even my favorite horror movies are either straight-up horror comedies like Shaun of the Dead, or something like Cabin in the Woods, which is horror and comedy and also general cleverness.

So, to get me to see a horror movie, it's got to be critically acclaimed, it's got to be easy for me to see, and someone else needs to prod me to get around to it. Netflix' acquisition of The Babadook on its home video release date and curious friends meant all three conditions were satisfied.

It's Australian. It's creepy as fuck. It's not super-violent and doesn't do a lot of jump-out-at-yous, instead relying heavily on the psychology of single motherhood, grief, a troubled child, and sleep deprivation. The supernatural element is there, of course, in the form of a fairly undefined monster and the world's most awesome pop-up book, but those are used in the climax and tension-building phases respectively.

If nothing else, the performance of Noah Wiseman as the young kid obsessed with protecting his mom from monsters. His face is capable of some really amazing things, and they really make great use of him from start to finish.

Also notable is the ending, which works as both a quirky horror movie ending and an extension of the movie's overall metaphor. Good stuff, and definitely worth a watch if you've got Netflix.