Archives / 2014 Sundance Film Festival

The Babadook

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Director: Jennifer Kent

Screenwriters: Jennifer Kent

Institute History

  • 2014 Sundance Film Festival

Description

“Do you want to die?!” seven-year-old Samuel asks his stressed-out single mother, Amelia. She wonders if his question is a threat or a warning. After dealing with Samuel’s frantic tantrums his entire life, Amelia suspects that her son has begun directing his violent misbehavior toward her. However, after a dark and foreboding children’s book called Mister Babadook mysteriously appears on Samuel’s bookshelf, Amelia must decide if her son is truly deranged, or if there really is a bogeyman lurking in their darkened halls at night.

First-time feature director Jennifer Kent vividly captures the vicious turbulence of Samuel’s shrill outbursts, generating a real sense of horror from his aggressive unruliness, all the while subtly hinting at the weary Amelia’s own deeply troubled nature. The Babadook builds up tension and dread in this damaged family’s home before deftly introducing the terrifying possibility that something even more ominous may be stalking the dysfunctional pair.

— H.Z.

Screening Details

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