Amelia is a single mother whose husband died years earlier. Their son, Samuel, is scared of a monster that he believes lives in his closet and under his bed. One day, she reads him a book she finds called Mister Babadook which terrifies Samuel – who then begins to blame strange happenings on Mister Babadook.
Quick to get on your nerves are Samuel’s tantrums. These are both annoying as hell, yet also allow us to relate to Amelia’s stress and sympathize with her. At the same time, he’s just not a very good actor and these become more annoying than useful. Essie Davis’ performance is not particularly noteworthy either. I’m thinking it’s more a problem with the film and the script than her, because she treats the material with respect and does what she can with it.
However, it’s all too careful and retreads territory seen many times before. It lacks the subtlety and ambiguity of many better films and feels barren. There is no tension, no atmosphere but seems to want to be a horror film. It falls flat there, with the only somewhat creepy moment being when Amelia hides under her covers during a visit from Mister Babadook. It also feels flat
Instead, it reverts to simple horror cliches. Even down to the fact that having a pet in a horror film is a bad idea. Though it’s a nice looking film, the content is clumsy, emotionless and dull.
Fails as both a horror film and a ‘drama’ due to a very simplistic view of its themes and failing to build tension. It’s not dark enough and treads too carefully. Whilst it’s not a terrible movie, it’s a forgettable one.