The Babadook thrills the Brits

27 October, 2014 by Don Groves

Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook has raked in more money in its first weekend in the UK than in its entire theatrical run at home.

The horror movie starring Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman fetched £346,000 ($A633,000) on 147 prints from Friday through Sunday, ranking at No.10.


That result mirrors the 5-day opening in France, which also eclipsed the Australian B.O. total of $256,000. The film wound up earning $US1.1 million in France, according to Box Office Mojo.

Rave reviews fuelled the UK opening. “Managing to scare an audience silly with original imagery and non-formulaic jolts is no mean feat at a time when the horror genre has become a largely self-plagiarising, cannibal entity,” declared The Daily Telegraph’s Tim Robey.

“The Babadook, an Australian chamber shocker of cunning bespoke power, achieves both, in a layered, thoughtful, cumulative way that switches your dread from a focus on the bogeyman to the human psyche, then wavers between them, wobbling on a knife-edge."

The Evening Standard’s Charlotte O’Sullivan opined, “In easily the most disturbing “chiller” of the year, Australian first-time director Jennifer Kent has a decent but chronically sleep-deprived mum, Amelia (Essie Davis, outstanding), scream at her starving, frightened, six-year-old son, Samuel: “If you’re that hungry, why don’t you go and eat SHIT!” As in all the best tales of the supernatural, it’s the stuff you can imagine real people doing that makes your skin crawl…

“The Babadook’s villains and victims are still running amok in my brain. I think they might be there for some time.”

The Independent’s Geoffrey Macnab wrote, “The Australian writer-director Jennifer Kent's bravura new horror pic combines subtlety and psychological depth with some very full-blooded shock tactics.

“It boasts an exceptional performance from Essie Davis as a single mom, still struggling to cope with the death of her husband several years before on the day her child was born."

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw found “Jennifer Kent’s clever, nasty, clammily claustrophobic chiller…leaves behind it a satisfyingly toxic residue of fear.”

Produced by Causeway Films' Kristina Ceyton and Kristian Moliere of Smoking Gun Productions, the film opens in the US on November 28 on premium VoD and day-and-date in cinemas in around 10 cities via IFC Midnight. Also upcoming is a theatrical release in Germany via Wild Bunch.