The film is disconcerting throughout, presenting a world that resembles ours but with the strange proportions of a Grimm’s fairy-tale. This is heightened by the fairy-tale like Mister Babadook, reminiscent of old children’s tales like the Great, Long, Red-legged Scissor Man, that both fascinate and frighten children and adults. The colour palate of the film is true to its story, where we get hints of emotion that slowly build, rather than raucous shifts in mood, or the overused and ineffective quite-quiet-LOUD copout that passes for ‘technique’ in so many horror films. The spectre of the Babadook and Amelia’s grief are fantastically twined within the cold and claustrophobic tinge that stains every shot and conjures the evocative interplay of light and shadow. The result is a subtle story where even the happy ending is marred.
Understated and unsettling, The Babadook is not just horror cinema at its finest, but a strangely beautiful look at grief.