Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"The Babadook" (2014) d/ Jennifer Kent

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Tonight we'll roll with a recent Aussie shocker of some significant renown, at least from my indie vocalist buddy, Smith, whom I'd remembered suggested that it had gathered a lot of buzz on the Tennessee cult scene in between many sips and bips one recent visit. Having watched a lot of movies with Johnny over the years, and appreciating the difficulty it must have given him to tell us about the movie and keep his cheeks sucked in like Terrence Stamp on a wire the whole time, I had to give it a screening in my own personal V.G.S. (vault of genre stimuli), and thus, finally cover it here at the Wop for your reading pleasure. It's like this...

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"See? Roman Polanski isn't in there."
Amelia (Essie Davis) is a young widow struggling to pull it all back together in the years since her husband ate car death, leaving her to tend to their son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), on her own. No one would blame you if you thought she'd done a shit job of it all, unable to drag herself from crippling depression that makes the simplest tasks nearly impossible for her to execute, and then, there's that boy of her's, who hasn't had a voice raised to him in his short life, the non-existent discipline that might have prevented him from becoming the whiniest, poutiest, teat-suckingest emotional retard in the civilized world, and the primary evidence for the necessity of spanking your kids.Add to the maddening mix, a mysterious pop up book that pertains to a mythical, shadowy bloke named Mister Babadook, after the noise he makes when he comes knocking, which is not a good thing, more often than not. Especially when Amelia almost eats glass for dinner, blamed on Babadook by her son, who's definitely not making it any easier for her, breaking her sister's daughter's schnoz when he pushes her out of a treehouse. Maybe you can take up a collection and get this top hatted rascal to rid you of your motherly misery. Nobody'd blame you at this point, lady.

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"The Tawny, Scrawny Lion couldn't make it, so he sent me in his place."
The sinister storybook, it seems, cannot be destroyed or disposed of, returning,  repaired, to the boy's shelf, with new pages, new taunts and threats, and new pop up visions of destruction where she's offed her son, the family dog, and herself, which terrifies Amelia into going to the police with her fears. When they ask to see the book in question, naturally, she's unable to produce it, having destroyed it again. Amelia begins to see the Babadook herself, along with visions of her dead husband who vows to return if she gives the boy to him. Crazy, man, crazy. Be careful not to let the Babadook possess your body, girl, otherwise, you may suddenly feel inclined to break the dog's neck and try to strangle your son. We can understand you wanting to snuff Sam's candle, but what'd the dog ever do to you, sick bitch? Leave it alone. I won't ruin the finale for you, woprophiles, but let's just say it fits into the fairy tale blueprint that it'd followed up to that point. Check it out.

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He's gonna start singing "Street Fighting Man" any second now, just watch.
For a limited time, you could buy a pop-up book like the one in the film, the first two thousand copies were signed by first time director, Jennifer Kent, for eighty clams. However you feel about the movie, that sounds like a pretty choice collectible to get your mitts on, regardless. Personally, I liked it, I just can't help thinking how much more I might have, had it strayed from the pedestrian possession angle (nearly as played out as zombies by now, folks), and perhaps fleshed out Mr. Babadook considerably more. I look forward to further genre work from Kent. As it stands, despite it's flaws, it manages to remain engaging enough to merit two Wops on the ratings scale. It's definitely worth checking out once or twice, if you're looking for something decent to fill an hour and a half or so. Give it a look, you may like it more than I do.

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"For the last time, my son did not order the five dollar foot long, Jared!"
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