Despite the different angry criticisms from certain sectors, few things can be good for an artistic discipline than the diversity of voices. Precisely the horror genre is one of the genres that is benefiting the most from including different perspectives, being a genre that tends to get ahead more easily with fewer resources. There, women filmmakers can express their concerns without having to go through so many filters and having to ask for so many permits.
There is no better example of this than one of the best genre films of the last ten years, coming from a place as remote as Australia and with a female voice at the forefront. No, it’s not about ‘Relic’, which is also a magnificent example of how to cleverly use terror to tell about issues that especially concern women. This is ‘Babadook’, by Jennifer Kent, recently added to the Prime Video catalog (and also accessible through Filmin).
terror close to home
The story of ‘Babadook’ follows a mother who has to take care of her young son alone. She finds herself in this situation due to the unexpected and violent death of her husband six years ago, and the weight of having to bear the responsibility of raising her offspring on her own begins to become excessive. Especially when the boy begins to be terrified by the threat of a monster that appears to him and that relates to the protagonist of a children’s horror story who suddenly appears at home.
This monster, “Mr. Babadook”, begins to become more present in the family through hallucinations that feel very real. The threat becomes unsettling, but everything is kept relatively realistic thanks to how Kent poses the staging. For a long time he maintains the ambiguity about the reality or fiction of this threat.
In the end, this monster is an excuse to talk about a conflict that is very real for mothers like the protagonist. The less beautiful and less commented side of motherhood is the protagonist in the story of ‘Babadook’, having to try to raise a deranged son who you don’t know if it’s like that, if it’s a product of trauma, or if it’s you who has gone completely crazy.
‘Babadook’: stories to not sleep
Kent takes great advantage of supernatural horror references that maintain an intimate and dramatic relationship with the traumas of their protagonists. It raises fresh ideas about this kind of moviesalthough its base is quite classic.
Which contrasts with the effort that has been made to include it in the (repellent) bag of “high terror”, where it fits only because it has a message and is unconventional, despite the fact that they are not very strange elements in genre cinema, even in its walking around the house version.
‘Babadook’ does not need high considerations to be a great film. His scares, more suggestive than shocking, work enormously for his good dramatic work. His monster has also become one of the most iconic of the last decade, also being embraced by the LGTBIQ + community. A film that has transcended many borderswhose recognition is more than deserved for the freshness of his contribution to the horror scene.