Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Scream Factory - THE BABADOOK on Blu-ray ""

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Scream Factory - THE BABADOOK on Blu-ray

THE BABADOOK (2014; Jennifer Kent)
It goes without saying that we live in a very remarkable time as far as the connection between social media and films is concerned. More people are connected together  and our lives our intertwined in such wonderful ways. It can be a wonderful thing for movies, especially smaller films. While studios spend millions to market their films, a little films that is well done can really get a head of steam just via the new power of "word of mouth". The horror community in particular is a pretty glorious thing in that they are always hungry for new movies and can be rabid supporters of stuff they like. I feel like horror has really become more prominent in the past 4-5 years too. By that I mean it seems to be invading the mainstream a bit more than it seemed to prior to that. Everything goes in cycles as they say and it's been nice to see the increased importance of social media become something that has really bolstered the world's love of the horror genre. All that said, the other thing that comes from all this is a good amount of hyperbole. So many films are hailed by critics and fans as pretty much "the best thing ever" that it becomes difficult to know how to gauge our expectations going into a movie. Expectations truly can be a killer and it is my belief that few films can stand the increased intensity of being called "the best film of this kind since...[fill in some truly classic masterpiece]". It's really just an unfair thing to do to a movie. We hear and often see so much of films now before we ever get a chance to sit down and watch them that it really makes me personally weary of most movies that seem overly praised. I know that some of my favorite viewing experiences come from seeing films that I had little to no expectations for. That sense of not having to judge something as your watching it and thinking "okay, is this the best this movie has to offer?". So for those of us that follow the buzz around certain films, I'm sure many are already aware of the huge amounts of exaltation that THE BABADOOK has gotten. It is widely known that William Friedkin, who many would argue directed one of the scariest films ever made in THE EXORCIST, has come out as a gigantic supporter of THE BABADOOK. He was even quoted as saying "THE BABADOOK is the scariest film I've ever seen". That's a rave recommend if I've ever heard one. But I also kind of wish I hadn't heard it. I kind of hate when people call recent movies the greatest anything. I have my own take on this, but it is my belief that a film must be allowed years of digestion by the culture before it can gain classic status. It has to be removed from the context from which it was first hatched and allowed to be given a chance to prosper on its own terms over time. With the immediacy of social media and the exclamations that can be made with it, people do seem to rush to praise things that are often just "pretty good". It can really be damaging I think. Okay, anyway sorry for my little rant there, but with IT FOLLOWS currently in theaters and getting similar glorification to what THE BABADOOK got, it started me thinking about all this stuff. So, what did I think of THE BABADOOK? Well, I liked it. I liked it quite a bit despite all the buildup. Is it the scariest film I've ever seen? No, of course it isn't, but it is very effective and extremely creepy in its way most certainly. The things I like most about it are the use of a children's book as the point of entry for The Babadook. It's just a really powerful thing to me right now as I am currently in a period where I am constantly reading books to my daughter so it connects with me in a huge way on that level. Also, the Babadook creature itself is quite unnerving. The guttural vocal screechings that emerge from the thing are unsettling in a very cool-for-me-as-a-horror fan kind of way. The way the creature moves is eerie too. So at the heart of THE BABADOOK is a good monster so that goes a long way to making this movie stand out a be memorable. My problems with the film stem from some heavy metaphorical story things wherein in its a bit of a sledgehammer message by the end. This may not bother everyone and it did not take me out, but was one of those things that I admired less and less the more I thought about it. The ending itself wasn't quite what I was hoping for either so that's tough as well. Finally, I just kinda hated the little boy in the film. He grated on me enough that it was hard to stay emotionally connected to the movie. I get that part of this is by design for sure, but I guess that's a structural choice that I didn't care for as much. Overall though, this is a good little horror flick and it is well worth tracking down and enjoying for horror fans and even non-horror fans.

Special Features
-Cast and Crew interviews (63 mins) - includes interviews with actors Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Barbara West, and Hayley McElhinney, director Jennifer Kent, costume designer Heather Wallace, producer Kristina Ceyton, and producer Kristian Moliere.
- "Creating The Book with Illustrator Alex Juhasz" (4 mins) Juhasz talks about being selected by Jennifer Kent based on his work on the title sequence for The United States of Tara, which consists of a bunch of pop-up elements. He talks about designing the book and how it influenced the look of the corresponding characters in the film.
- Jennifer Kent's short film MONSTER (10 mins)
A neat short and one that you can easily see shows the early germ of the idea for THE BABADOOK. Has a few very effective moments which is commendable.
- Behind The Scenes - about 3 mins of b-roll of Jennifer Kent directing a couple scenes from the film.
- "The Stunts: Jumping the Stairs" (2 mins) - some b-roll of the cast and crew working on one particular stunt scene.
- "Special Effects: The Stabbing Scene" (2 mins) A bit of behind the scenes of how the stabbing of one of the characters was done (a leg of lamb was used). 
- "A Tour of the House Set" (7 mins)
- Deleted scenes (3 mins)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Completely on board with you on the over-hype commentary. Both, BABADOOK and the current IT FOLLOWS couldn't possibly live up to their hype - and, they don't.
They're both pretty good. But, I guess audiences are so starved for a great horror film that anything that is even modestly fine gets overpraised to the heavens (or, would it be hell?).
Anyway, horror fans should certainly check out both movies, but, ignore the hype.