I recently saw Babadook (No spoilers), a fantastic horror movie that was not only scary, but had a compelling, thought provoking, and grounded story to back up the supernatural.
I know lots of people haven’t heard of it, because it’s a smaller Australian production, and others balk at the title, but seriously, if you haven’t seen it, you really owe it to yourself to check it out.
I had the pleasure of seeing the movie in theaters, with my friends Andy and Dave, and my fiancé, Laurie, who is the perfect audience member.
Let me explain: Laurie cannot hide her emotions, especially during movies, and even more so during horror movies. She screams at every fright, laughs at every joke, and gasps at every reveal, often loudly.
We went to a later showning at the IFC center in New York, and the rest of the audience was pretty tame, in that laid back, expert movie-goer sheek attitude where everyone sits quietly and absorbs the film.
The theater was almost full, and as the movie started, along with some creepy music over the first titles, Laurie was already gripping my arm. As the movie continued, and tension built, she kept muttering terrified curses under(ish) her breath, along with advice for the characters, such as, “Don’t do it”.
As things got weirder, Laurie couldn’t contain herself anymore. She started shouting, “Why!” at the screen. It wasn’t as much a question, as a challenge. She was wedged halfway down in her seat before she started screaming. Something startling or terrible would happen in the movie, and Laurie would punctuate it with one of her sharp, gutteral screams. She even screamed at a non-scary moment, when one of the characters said something mean.
However, the tour de force came three quarters of the way through the movie, at arguably the scariest scene. The events in the theater played out in such cinematic cliché, that if the screen and the theater had swapped realities, ours would get a bad review.
Laurie was holding a half-eaten jumbo bucket of popcorn, and the second that scary scene hit, she threw the bucket up over her shoulder, dumping huge amounts of popcorn on me, her own head, and the people behind us.
It’s scary enough to watch the movie, it’s even scarier to be hit with an avalanch of popcorn.
I couldn’t help laughing as I picked kernals from the inside of my collar. Laurie hadn’t noticed. When I got up after the movie, I saw a pile of popcorn in front of the people behind us (as well as the actual people behind us; they looked miffed).
There’s something incredibly satisfying about breaking through all the cynicism and irony we’ve all built up (especially in a place like New York), and bask in the glory of strong, public, and unfettered emotion. Even if that emotion is terror.
In short, I highly recommend Babadook.