A rumbling sound then three sharp knocks -- Ba-ba-ba-dook-dook-dook.
October 13, 2014 4:57 AM   Subscribe

The horror genre is traditionally even more of a boys' club than Hollywood at large. In a nice break from convention, though, two of this year's most acclaimed horror films were written and directed by women.

Honeymoon, about newlyweds whose getaway is disrupted by... visitations from... something, is the feature film debut of Leigh Janiak. It got strong reviews from The Dissolve and The New York Times, among others, and is now available on iTunes and on VOD in the US. Here's Janiak talking about how she got the film made.

The Babadook, about a woman whose son develops a pathological fear of a monster in their house, was written and directed by Australian actress Jennifer Kent. It premiered at Sundance this year and currently boasts a 96% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Some have tossed around terms like "flat-out masterpiece" and blasphemies like "outdoes Stanley Kubrick." The high-brow likes of Film Comment ran an interview with Kent. The film will be released in the U.S. later this month.
posted by eugenen (35 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
 
[Editorial comment: I haven't seen The Babadook yet, but Honeymoon is phenomenally creepy and highly recommended.]
posted by eugenen at 4:58 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'd never heard of The Babadook before like two days ago, but everything I've seen about it suggests it's going to be awesome. Is it premiering in America before Halloween? The Wiki page said November last time I looked.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:01 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


My friends and twitter feed tell me that Babadook absolutely killed at Sitges Film Festival. Looking forward to it!
posted by kandinski at 5:43 AM on October 13, 2014


Going to tell my wife, she loves a good horror movie. I'm going to stay here under the covers though, where it's nice and safe.
posted by arcticseal at 5:51 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm going to stay here under the covers though, where it's nice and safe.

*monster sounds*
posted by curious nu at 5:56 AM on October 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


The Babadook looks absolutely terrifying, and I really, really want to see it. Just from the trailers, there's so much horror even before getting to monsters, what with the kid suffering from what looks like violent behavioral issues and the mom wondering what the hell she's supposed to do, and oh, hey, horrible evil haunted book that we've never seen in the house before! That's totally what we should read before bedtime!

I love that the trailer points out the biggest flaw in the plan to hide under the covers. At some point you have to get out from under them. At some point, you have to look. I love that they put that at the end of the trailer, because now I want to see what's over the bed, which is really a poor life choice.

Can't wait.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:03 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Do you want to be the first to get the Babadook book?

(Think carefully before you answer.)
posted by fairmettle at 6:08 AM on October 13, 2014


Well, no. No I do not want that book. I also choose not to listen to the reel-to-reel tape left sitting in the player, conveniently rewound to just the right incantation to release eldritch horror. I mean, what sort of trick question is this?

Seriously, though, in the trailer, it looks like she's hiding under a sheet. There's got to be some sort of 'effectiveness against boogeymen, nightterrors, creepypasta, and so on' rating for bed covers. Sheets, have to be at the bottom of the list. Also, possibly, terry cloth blankets, and decorative afgans, the kind with the big knitted holes all over them, mostly suited for the back of a sofa at your grandmother's house.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:16 AM on October 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


Fortunately, The Ring only worked when watched on the obsolete VHS media. I'm sure Mister Babadook would have no power if ported to e-readers.
posted by fairmettle at 6:21 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Thanks for this post. I might never have considered or known about the Babadook otherwise.

I saw the trailer for the Honeymoon and it kind of turned me off of wanting to see it. It's one of those trailers where 1.) you suspect you are seeing/spoiling 90% of the important stuff in the movie in trailer 2.) you still have no idea what is going on.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:32 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


fairmettle, one of the only things I liked about Pulse (a bad remake of a better film I haven't seen, unfortunately) is that the horrible monsters are able to get through any sort of device that's connected to any network, anywhere. It's used to pretty decent effect, and given that (supposedly) Sadako's power was the ability to burn images into things (walls, photos, videotape), I'm reasonably sure she could handle hard drives, blu-rays, and so on, which is just begging for some sort of cheesy movie where the 'viral' movie is transmitted by Vine, Snapchat, and so on. Just think of all those autoplaying movies.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:44 AM on October 13, 2014


@fairmettle, I am just noticing the third hand from under the sheet in the 2nd picture, and that is seriously creeping me out.
posted by kyp at 7:00 AM on October 13, 2014


Seriously, if you have any interest in seeing Honeymoon, don't watch the trailer. It's a much better film going in completely blind.

Trailers these days suck.
posted by graventy at 7:11 AM on October 13, 2014


Oh my god. On reflection I am totally mistaking his knee for his shoulder. This explains my limp.
posted by kyp at 7:13 AM on October 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


about newlyweds whose getaway is disrupted by... visitations from... something

Could be a premise for a good comedy, too.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:19 AM on October 13, 2014


Maaaaaaaaan, I guess The Babadook showed at the AFI Silver Halloween horror festival like two days ago, and I am sad that I missed it (and indeed most of the festival, which ends on...the 18th? Wait, what?).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:32 AM on October 13, 2014


Don't worry, Sadako got copied to an HD-DVD and now languishes in a charity shop bargain bin, safe from ever being watched again...
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:48 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Haha! Babadook what a cute, silly name! Why, I'll bet this trailer isn't going to be bad at aAAAAAAAAAGGGHHHHHH!!
posted by orme at 8:09 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Wow, The Babadook looks fantastic, thanks for posting about it! It's supposed to be released in Switzerland but I can't find a date yet, grrr.

Ghidorah, Pulse was such a bad movie that I still occasionally rant about it to unfortunate acquaintances, but I did find the apparitions of the monsters scary.

I don't watch enough horror movies. I should fix that!

(One month later, I have built the world's strongest pillow fort and absolutely refuse to come out.)
posted by daisyk at 8:38 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yay, good horror movies! They're like a special treat!

I watch bad horror movies for fun. It's a lifelong hobby. Lately I have taken to livetweeting them to my handful of followers, because really, the best part of bad horror movies is asking questions that they can't answer.

(Don't try to watch anything called "The Witch's Game," by the way.)

It will be nice to watch some competent ones, which are few and far between. The closest I've come recently was "The Possession," which managed to stand up above its compatriots by having characterization, and also almost a plot, plus some of the creepy visuals were actually creepy instead of hilarious.

But this past weekend I watched "100 Ghost Street: The Return of Richard Speck" which was the horror movie embodiment of a Poe. They accidentally made a cutting-edge satire of horror movies, but none of them appears to have realized it. At one point the Final Girl is walking into literal featureless darkness with the camera on a close-up spotlit shot of her tear-streaked face.
posted by Scattercat at 8:53 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Babadook looks awesomely scary, and I am oddly reminded of some Aboriginal rock art (at ~0:20, carvings of "archaic faces", page 129 of Desert Peoples; at ~1:45, Quinkan spirits, middle of this page). Even the name sounds as if it could be made up of actual words in some Australian languages (though I couldn't figure out any, though it's hard to search through old dictionaries phonetically in languages you don't speak ... "barrn badook"? "baaba doog"?).

I've now kept myself up far too late watching the trailer a few times, looking up things, and thinking of all the bush ghost stories I've been told in the field. I can't wait to see this film!

Aaaaaaand I hope I'm able to get to sleep. As many times as I've said the words "baba dook" aloud tonight, if he's going to show up anywhere it would defini
posted by barnacles at 9:49 AM on October 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


Maaaaaaaaan, I guess The Babadook showed at the AFI Silver Halloween horror festival like two days ago

Aww, you missed a good show! I went with my boyfriend and had to squeeze his hand the whole time. It's incredible, the first legitimately scary movie I've seen in a long time.
posted by troika at 10:22 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


As many times as I've said the words "baba dook" aloud tonight, if he's going to show up anywhere it would defini

So Babadook is Candlejack's Halloween costu-
posted by ryoshu at 10:37 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


In addition to being a fantastically creepy and intelligent movie, Essie Davis' lead performance in The Babadook is one of the best I've seen in many years, especially by an actress I've never even heard of. If there's any justice, we're going to be seeing a whole lot more of her soon.
posted by doctornecessiter at 10:56 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wait, this has Phyrne from Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries? Doubly sold!
posted by rewil at 11:51 AM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Honeymoon was pretty decent and The Babadook is something I am actually looking forward too. 2014 seems like a good year for Australian film (considering the godawful shite that is released every single other year) in that there has been one excellent movie - The Rover - and another one that has the potential to be excellent. Two movies out of three or whatever we did isn't a bad innings.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:40 PM on October 13, 2014


I desperately want someone to take the Babadook trailer and mix it with Marmaduke.

Big scary thumps coming down the corridor made by big clumsy dog. Hiding under the covers only to see a Great Dane lunge at you and lick your face. Chilling.
posted by graventy at 3:12 PM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Here's what I want.

I don't watch horror movies, really, ever. But I do appreciate the plotlines of good ones (and even bad ones), and really want to READ about what happens in the films without subjecting myself to the time investment of watching them.

Is there an online resource anyone is aware of with totally spoilery recaps?
posted by uberchet at 3:18 PM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is there an online resource anyone is aware of with totally spoilery recaps?

Wikipedia is actually my go-to for this.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:22 PM on October 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


turbid dahlia: "2014 seems like a good year for Australian film ... in that there has been one excellent movie - The Rover - and another one that has the potential to be excellent."

The Rover was fantastic. I wasn't able to stop thinking about it for a few days after seeing it (and still think about it occasionally). I enjoyed These Final Hours mostly because it was neat to see something set in Perth, but it wasn't as good as I hoped. And having survived the night I'm still excited for Mr. Babadook.
posted by barnacles at 9:02 PM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is there an online resource anyone is aware of with totally spoilery recaps?

The Movie Spoiler is good for fairly in-depth recaps (more in-depth than Wikipedia), although it's generally limited to the mainstream, national release films and not the more indie films.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:20 AM on October 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


I have been MeMailing the trailer to this to horror-loving MeFites for six months or so. I CANNOT WAIT.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:35 AM on October 14, 2014


The problem with successful Australian horror is it will be the go to Australian reference for lazy hollywood joke writers for the next 12 months.
posted by bystander at 12:10 AM on October 15, 2014


Wikipedia's summaries are too thin, but I'll check out The Movie Spoiler! Thanks!
posted by uberchet at 9:23 AM on October 15, 2014


OH MY GOD HONEYMOON.

Just watched it. Thank you so much for this post. It is my favorite movie of the year so far.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 9:43 PM on October 16, 2014


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