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Monday, April 6, 2015

New on Video: Homebound Horror in The Babadook

Posted By on Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 3:04 PM


Horror movies have been going through a bit of a renaissance as of late.

It’s long been a genre in which budding filmmakers turn to because a profitable film can be made for little money, and more than a few a-listers (Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi, to name but two) have started out making shockfests.

But just because a film is a low-budget and a horror picture doesn’t mean it can’t be, like, really really good. Case in point: Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook, which Shout! Factory is releasing on DVD and Blu-ray on April 14.

In The Babadook, Amelia (Essie Davis) is a widowed mother whose dysfunctional relationship with her troubled son (Daniel Henshall) may or may not have taken the form of a storybook monster come to life. The most widely-used blurb for the film comes from William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist, and the connection is apt, since The Babadook taps into a vein of family-horror like no film since Friedkin’s.

So, the picture itself is worthy enough on its own merits – listen to it through headphones and with the lights off, if that’s an option – but if you’re so equipped, the Special Edition Blu-ray is the one to get.

Among other things, for a limited time it comes in a swell, thematically appropriate pop-up package:

This just appeared on my shelf. Enh, I'm sure I'll be fine.

A photo posted by Sherilyn Connelly (@landingonwater) on

But more important are the extras, and as physical media slowly gives way to non-physical media, gods bless the kids at Shout! Factory for keeping the very concept of the DVD/Blu-ray extra alive.

The real score is Jennifer Kent’s short film “Monster,” which establishes the themes of The Babadook, while showing that Kent has always known exactly where to place the camera. And while there’s no commentary track or Making-Of documentary, the various extras paint an interesting look at how the film was put together, including an interview with Essie Davis (among others). It’s clearly made for the Electronic Press Kit, but Davis gets to the essence of the film, shedding light on why it both jangles the nerves and grabs the heart. Check it out.
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Sherilyn Connelly


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