How The Babadook, an Australian Flop, Became a Horror Must-See

How an Australian flop became the year’s must-see horror film
Sam, played by Noah Wiseman, in The Babadook

The Babadook is essentially one long panic attack. Made for $2.3 million by first-time filmmaker Jennifer Kent, the Australian movie finds fear in the barely bearable everyday grief of a mother mourning the loss of her spouse while she struggles to care for her son. The actress Essie Davis, a veteran of Australian television, plays Amelia, a woman whose husband died in a car accident as they were driving to the hospital to deliver their baby. Now her son, Sam (Noah Wiseman), is 6 years old and disturbed. He’s hyperactive. He sobs. He can’t stop babbling about a monster in the house. He gets upset and accidentally hurts his cousin. When Sam starts screaming in the back seat of Amelia’s car, she can’t stop him.

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