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The Babadook 2014

The Babadook | Mister Babadook

The Babadook

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About the Babadook 💬

  • Don't let it in.

A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son's fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her...

  • You can't get rid of... The Babadook.

Six years after the violent death of her husband, Amelia (Essie Davis) is at a loss. She struggles to discipline her 'out of control' 6-year-old, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), a son she finds impossible to love. Samuel's dreams are plagued by a monster he believes is coming to kill them both.

  • Where there is imagination, there is darkness and from within that darkness lurks a being of unfathomable terror.. close to home.

When a disturbing storybook called 'THE BABADOOK' turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the Babadook is the creature he's been dreaming about. His hallucinations spiral out of control, he becomes more unpredictable and violent. Amelia, genuinely frightened by her son's behavior, is forced to medicate him.

But when Amelia begins to see glimpses of a sinister presence all around her, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about may be real.


I am fascinated by what happens to people when they suppress their feelings, especially painful ones. Suppression may work momentarily, even for a number of years, but eventually, the truth will come out.

Amelia, the central character of the film, goes through the horrific and violent loss of her husband, the love of her life, in a terrible car accident. This happens as they are speeding to the hospital, Amelia in labor with their first child. The day her husband is killed is the day her son Samuel is born. The film begins almost seven years later.

Amelia finds she cannot love her son because she hasn't been able to face the grief of what happened. This suppressed grief builds such energy that it splits off from her, stalks then possesses her and eventually wills her to murder her 6-year-old child. This questioning of mother love is where the core of the horror lies. How does one cope with a mother, the oldest and most trusted symbol of love and protection, transforming into a terrible force of murderous destruction? How does a six-year-old child possibly overcome that?

This precarious relationship between Amelia and Samuel is also where the hope of the film exists. Despite its horror, THE BABADOOK is a love story, a mother moving through the center of hell towards her child. It's a nightmare ride, but like Amelia, the audience is rewarded for their commitment to it.

I am very inspired by the early silent horror films. They were visually beautiful and arresting, elevated in many cases to a poetic level. This is our visual starting point with THE BABADOOK: to take inspiration from these bold visual worlds and find our own distinctive, modern take on them. These films were strongly influenced by German Expressionism, bringing the 'inside out' - externalizing the emotions, reflecting them in the design and camera work. This heightened style creates a perfect visual language for a psychological horror.

Considering the horrific power of this story, our teams' commitment to a new and captivating visual world, and the potential for powerhouse performances in the roles of mother and son, I have full faith that THE BABADOOK will be a visually arresting, powerfully moving and deeply frightening film. It has enough elements of the genre to make it recognizable to a wider audience, but it also possesses enough originality, boldness, and depth to make it, unlike any other film an audience has seen to date.


Jennifer Kent on how she came up with the story of THE BABADOOK...

The idea for THE BABADOOK wasn't really a conscious thing, where a light bulb went off and I thought, ''What about this idea?'' It started more with a feeling and a kernel of an idea that grew as time went on. But I guess the short that I made called Monster was the springboard for that and then I started to dream about what else was in this story and it all grew from that.

Jennifer Kent on the story and themes of the film...

The themes of THE BABADOOK that interest me? I'm very fascinated by what happens to people when they don't face things and push down on difficulties in themselves. Where does that go? So if someone's had a tragic experience and they don't deal with it, how does it sit in their life? I guess THE BABADOOK is an exploration of that idea, told in a very heightened way. In the case of THE BABADOOK, Amelia presses down on these terrible feelings so much that they develop an energy that becomes something and splits off from her. It becomes separate to her and it starts to control her. And what that thing is, who knows? Well, I know. I feel what it is. But it's up to the audience to interpret what that is. Whether it's supernatural or whether it's psychological is really up to the viewer. But that's the basic idea for me. That's the kernel of the film.

Jennifer Kent on the character of Amelia, played by Essie Davis...

The character of Amelia is a complex one and I always wanted her to have heart. People's original reading of the script, well they were concerned that she was going to be cold and unfeeling and unsympathetic. I always felt when I was writing her that she was someone I cared so much about. And so I wanted an actress that was really based here (Jennifer touches her heart) and had the capacity to give the character warmth. Essie for me has been a perfect casting because I've known her for a long time - I went through NIDA with Essie - and we're very good friends. But on top of that, she's just a brilliant, brilliant actress and so courageous, so committed and intelligent and really she uses her heart when she acts. I couldn't be happier with her performance. She's a knockout!

Jennifer on the character of Samuel and working with young newcomer, six-year-old Noah Wiseman...

Early on I said when I'd written the film and when we started auditioning six-year-olds, I thought oh my god, what have I done? Because to put a six-year-old into the lead in a film is a really insane thing to do! But the story demanded it. We looked at children who were older - eight or nine - but Samuel needs a real innocence. He's a character too that needs to be loved by the audience. And we found that with eight or nine-year-olds that there was sort of a 'knowing' quality that starts to creep into kids around that age, so he really needed to be an actor of six. We found Noah pretty quickly once we spotted him. I thought, 'ooh, there's something about him that's really special' and he was six and he's an 'innocent' six. He has a quality that is really pure as a person and that translated so beautifully into the character of Sam. I said to someone early on in the shoot that directing a six-year-old is like trying to get mercury to form in a straight line. Every day was terrifying, but it's really paid off. I think the fact that I'm an actor helped and that I know how hard it is. I basically went through scenes with him and acted them first for him and then he was able to get it through that process. He's very smart and very emotionally advanced - much more than most children of six. He had a great empathy for Sam and a very big heart as well. So all of these qualities added up to what I feel is a really terrific performance.

Jennifer Kent on her transition from being an actor to a writer/director...

I had written and been an actor since I was a kid - not in any professional way, but I always knew I wanted to be an actor and then I went through NIDA and by the time I got out I didn't want to act anymore! I do love the process of acting, but I don't really have the temperament for it and I very quickly got bored with it actually. So giving that away was very easy for me. I'm quite introverted as well at times, so it was hard for me to always push myself forward, I wasn't comfortable with it. I'd always written and directed as a kid and then when I gave up acting the most natural thing was to go back to that. At the time I thought, I don't want to go to film school because I don't like educational systems - I wanted to learn on the job. So I approached the Danish director Lars von Trier and went and worked as attachment on Dogville, which for me was the best film school, the best education. I saw someone who I think is a quite genius in that day to day process of making a film and that for me gave me the courage to say 'OK I think I can do this - it's not going to be easy, but I can do it.' So that was how the transition from acting to directing really happened. After that film, I just worked away at my scripts. One thing that's been integral to the development of this film is a place called 'Binger Filmlab' in Amsterdam, which is an extraordinary writer and director script development lab and I spent five months there developing this script from a treatment to a second draft. They're an extraordinary bunch of people because they wanted to find out what your vision was first and then they helped you to develop the film and got on board script advisors that were suited to the vision that you had. That for me was just phenomenal and that's what I think has given this film a strong base.

Jennifer Kent talks about creating the book in the film and working with illustrator Alexander Juhasz...

Yeah, Alex is a very funny guy and I'm so glad that we got him over. I wanted someone who's work was very handmade and who wasn't attached to Photoshop. Someone who wasn't going to create everything on the computer, but would actually draw these beautiful images. And I'd seen Alex's work and I was using it as a reference when we were looking at potential illustrators and we had a few test Babadook's done and it wasn't quite working. So I said to Kristina (producer) why don't we just ask Alex himself if he wants to do this? And we did and he was like, 'yeah, I want to come over!' And so in early preproduction, we spent time developing that first, before any of the production design or any of the cinematography came on board. We spent time with him working through that because for me ''THE BABADOOK'' book is the core of the world of the film. So we had to get that right first. So that's how Alex came on board.

Jennifer Kent describes the tone and mood of the film...

For me, films that I like have very distinct worlds. So I wanted to create a world that was unique unto itself, so that it existed and had its own set of rules but it wasn't realism or naturalism. I was very inspired by early silent horror films and things that have just a slightly heightened world to them. So Alex Holmes (Production Designer) and Radek Ladczuk (DOP) have been really integral in creating that world and they've done an amazing job. Because it had to be a place where this entity could spring up and it wouldn't be stupid and it would just make sense because the world was not real - it was a surreal world. So the tone is connected to that world. I don't think I could put a word to it. Strange? Sometimes funny? Sometimes horrific? We'll find out in the edit how it feels.

Jennifer Kent on what she hopes audiences will take from it. What will resonate with them?

I hope that the audiences will make up their own mind about what this Babadook thing is. And I hope that the deeper reasons why I wrote this script will reach the audience, so that it's not just a film that will scare them, but that it’s a film that will move them in other ways. That's my hope.

The Babadook Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Jennifer Kent

Writing Credits

Jennifer Kent


Essie Davis

Noah Wiseman

Daniel Henshall

Hayley McElhinney

Barbara West

Benjamin Winspear

Tim Purcell

Music by

Jed Kurzel

Cinematography by

Radek Ladczuk

Genres: Drama, Horror, Thriller

Countries: Australia, Canada

The Babadook Official Trailer

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