Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Babadook (Scream Factory Blu-ray)

The Babadook creeped me out. There are things I would change about the movie if I could, but I wouldn't change how the little boy in the film was portrayed as intolerably annoying. I wouldn't change the pacing or the look. I adore the choice of actors and think the premise is perfectly scary while invoking some cerebral processes that make the movie feel like more than just a monster picture. What the Babadook is, as a creature, is perfect. The way the Babadook looks is also near perfect, but the way the Babadook moves... at times it leaves quite a lot to be desired. That's my one pet peeve with the movie. The creature is almost too glitch. I wanted to get that off my chest because most people have a problem with one aspect of the movie or another. Mine is superficial and only minimally harms the suspension of disbelief I have while watching the Dook (as I affectionately call it).  Scream Factory has put out both a standard Blu-ray and a special edition that has my heart. I'm so glad that we see what appears to be a team up between IFC Midnight and Scream Factory. These labels should be friends.

Up until now I haven't written much about The Babadook because some of the negative fan reviews it gets bothers me. Sure there are the hipsters trouncing it, but they hate everything. It's the people who attack it because the kid is "annoying". Man, he's supposed to be annoying. The fact that he gets under your skin so perfectly both lends itself to brilliant direction by Jennifer Kent and a special performance by both Essie Davis and her son played by Noah Wiseman. There's something so real about how kids can do that and you feel it, like it or not as a parent. It isn't constant like it is in the Babadook and there are deep psychological reasons behind that. Occasionally I just like to enjoy a horror movie and not deal with defending it against folks who want to attack it. Sure I've raved about how much I liked it, but I haven't defended it or been critical of it. It deserves a pedestal. It is a horror picture, and it is also psychological.

Let's put this in perspective. How much did I like The Babadook? I've watched it several times. I put up cash as part of the funding raising project to have created the pop up book  from the movie become a real thing of pages and dooks. I'm happy to say that should be out soon. Will post pics. I'm terrified and elated. When Scream Factory send me the special edition to review, the version that look like the pop up book from the movie, I had an idea. The edition opens up and inside is a pop up Babadook. I got the idea to put a light activated, audio trigger in the card so that every time you open it, a sound clip of the Babadook screaming his name plays. You know... like those birthday cards that sing Margarittaville only it's the Dook, and it freaked out my wife. I encourage you to do the same.

After watching all the special features, I can tell you that there are juicy bits of info in this package, but they are more like morsels than full meals. The Deleted Scenes are few and somewhat bland. The Cast and Crew interviews are interesting, but the questions are somewhat ordinary and repetitive. The interviews don't pick up steam and are done with a typed questions and spoken responses. No organic flow, but at least you get everyone you'd want to hear from for the most part.The Behind the Scenes is brief but interesting especially the set design. I had no idea they build that house on a sound stage. It looked perfectly real. There's a stunt reel... of sorts... that is just watching Essie jump and run up stairs.

The gem in the features is Jennifer Kent's short film Monster. It's nearly as creepy as The Babadook. It is not identical, but you can see how it was the jumping off point for the feature length film with plenty of new ideas and pieces of character development added in. The quality of picture in the movie is excellent. This is a rich movie with plenty of blues and dark moments.

Bonus Features
  • Limited-Run "Pop Up" Packaging
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Cast And Crew Interviews
  • Behind-The-Scenes Of The Making Of The Film
  • Jennifer Kent's Short Film, "Monster"
  • Theatrical Trailers
Make sure you get the pop up packaging. It's limited and a must own for collectors and fans of cool Blu-ray art. Get it now before you can't. The still you see cannot let you know how unique this edition feels. Next, make sure to watch Monster. It's absolutely worth the few minutes it takes, but I'd say watching The Babadook first is paramount. Get the movie in before the short dissects it for you by building quickly and perhaps being more obvious.

You can order The Babadook now from Scream Factory available in April:

Synopsis from Scream Factory:

Amelia (AFI Award winner Essie Davis, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, The Slap) is a single mother plagued by the violent death of her husband. When a disturbing storybook called Mister Babadook turns up at her house, she is forced to battle with her son's deep-seated fear of a monster. Soon she discovers a sinister presence all around her.A chilling tale of unseen and otherworldly horror in the haunting tradition of The Orphanage, Jennifer Kent's visceral journey into the heart of fear itself is as terrifying as it is believable.

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