What makes a horror film good? Is it the scares? The fear it instills? Or is it the tension leading up to that scare? For me, it’s the tension. Any moron with a camera can scare an audience, but to draw that tension out for a whole scene is impressive. To draw it out for a whole film is even more so. Here we find Australian actress-turned-director Jennifer Kent adapting her own short film into her debut feature. Kent studied under von Trier on the set of Dogville, perhaps picking up a few things about drawing out tension from the man (okay, definitely not perhaps).
The Babadook itself is hardly scary, what is scary though is Alexander Juhasz’ eponymous children’s pop-up book. The simplicity of the monster helped to further illustrate Kent’s analogy - we’ve all got monsters in our closets, and sometimes you have to face your demons, even if doing so guarantees things will never be the same again. the Babadook is an extremely well crafted film, drawing influences from a broad variety of world cinema, and I’ll wait patiently for Kent’s next work.