AustLit logo
image of person or book cover 525530040576148012.jpg
Screen cap from promotional trailer
form y separately published work icon The Babadook single work   film/TV   horror  
Issue Details: First known date: 2013... 2013 The Babadook
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son's fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Theorising Film Festivals as Distributors and Investigating the Post-Festival Distribution of Australian Films Lauren Carroll Harris , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Studies in Australasian Cinema , vol. 11 no. 2 2017; (p. 46-58)

This paper theorises film festivals as distribution circuits, positioning film festivals in the broader cinema ecology to assess their role in delivering local films to local audiences. Recasting current research trends into film festivals through the lens of distribution enables us to see how festivals function as more than another exhibition screen - as a type of distributor. I offer a case study of Sydney Film Festival to explore the following research questions: What is the distributive function and nature of film festivals for Australian films? What happens to local titles following their festival runs? How can we explain the gap between Australian films' continued popularity at film festivals and their continued under-performance in the rest of the marketplace? In answering these questions, this article demonstrates how film festivals have become crucial to both the Australian film industry and the cinema industry at large over the last 10 years, to the point that they have almost replaced the art-house circuit and come to provide an essential, highly specialised distribution channel for small to medium budget films. For this reason, I argue that material and economic drivers are as essential to the current boon in film festivals as cultural ones, and that the film festival circuit has not been able to address the problem of distribution for auteurist, independent and art cinema in an age of digitisation. I present evidence that localises, concretises and specifies festival research, suggesting the major festivals in Australia are an increasingly discrete and self-contained distribution sector within the wider cinema ecology, which has significant implications for theorisations of festivals as feeders for theatrical circuits.

If It's In a Word, Or It's In a Look, Our New Gay Icon Is the Babadook Maria Lewis , 2017 single work column
— Appears in: FilmInk , 17 June 2017;
The Beak That Grips : Maternal Indifference, Ambivalence and the Abject in The Babadook Shelley Buerger , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Studies in Australasian Cinema , vol. 11 no. 1 2017; (p. 33-44)
'This article investigates the depiction of maternal indifference and ambivalence in Jennifer Kent’s film The Babadook. Using the techniques of psychoanalytical criticism I draw on Kristeva’s [1982. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Translated by Leon S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press] theory of abjection and Barbara Creed’s [1993. The Monstrous Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis. London: Routledge] application of this to the horror genre to explore the film’s portrayal of repressed grief and the resulting traumatic disruption to the mother/child bond. Taking the protagonist’s troubled relationship with both her son and her bereaved status as my starting point, I argue that The Babadook represents a reimagining of maternal abjection. Both Kristeva and Creed posit that abjection is first experienced as the result of the mother’s refusal to relinquish her hold on the child and to move past the intense dyadic relationship of the infant period. The Babadook inverts this psychic narrative by positioning Amelia’s refusal of this relationship and her lack of proper maternal feeling as the site of her abjection. In this reimagining of maternal abjection, The Babadook presents audiences with a representation of maternal experience that is shocking and confronting. While the narrative arc is ultimately one of redemption the ambiguous ending emphasises the lingering unease inspired by maternal indifference.' (Publication abstract)
The Babadook and the Haunted Space between High and Low Genres in the Australian Horror Tradition Jessica Balanzategui , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Studies in Australasian Cinema , vol. 11 no. 1 2017; (p. 18-32)
'The horror genre is a particularly fraught category in academic and mainstream critical discourse about Australian film genres. Australian horror films are often framed as either ‘Australian Gothic’ or ‘Ozploitation,’ terms that prioritise issues of national identity, class and taste rather than genre. The oppositional relationship of these terms presents an obstacle to the widespread acceptance – both scholarly and popular – of local horror films. This is illuminated by a comparison of two recent Australian horror releases and their domestic receptions, Wolf Creek 2 (McLean, Greg. 2014. Wolf Creek 2. Film. Adelaide: Duo Art Productions and Emu Creek Pictures) and The Babadook (Kent, Jennifer. 2014. The Babadook. Blu-Ray DVD. Melbourne: Umbrella Entertainment). Wolf Creek 2 was one of the most lucrative Australian films of 2014, however it was critically panned in large part due to its perceived commercialism and low-genre status. By contrast, The Babadook was the most critically praised Australian film of 2014, however the film received a limited domestic release. This paper explores how both The Babadook’s meagre domestic release and its near-universal critical praise can be related to its association with the high-art Australian Gothic tradition. Yet the film unsettles firmly entrenched art/genre, nationalism/commercialism dichotomies.' (Publication abstract)
Lights, Cameras, as Action Rolls in SA Penelope Debelle , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 18 May 2016; (p. 2)
Shivers Down The Spine Fiona Purdon , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 17 May 2014; (p. 16)

— Review of The Babadook Jennifer Kent , 2013 single work film/TV
'...Kent's directorial debut The Baba-dook, a psychological thriller starring Essie Davis, achieved five-star reviews and created such a buzz at this years Sundance Film Festival that she has been wooed by Hollywood's leading agents...'
New Life in Horror Genre David Stratton , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 24-25 May 2014; (p. 14-15)

— Review of The Babadook Jennifer Kent , 2013 single work film/TV
The Best of Australian Arts 2014 : Film Margaret Pomeranz , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: The Monthly , October no. 105 2014; (p. 64-65)

— Review of The Babadook Jennifer Kent , 2013 single work film/TV
The Babadook Review – A Superbly Acted, Chilling Freudian Thriller Peter Bradshaw , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: The Guardian , 24 October 2014;

— Review of The Babadook Jennifer Kent , 2013 single work film/TV
Monstrous Motherhood Alexandra Heller-Nicholas , 2014 single work
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , October 2014;

— Review of The Babadook Jennifer Kent , 2013 single work film/TV
Australia Rides Creative High Ed Gibbs , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 23 January 2014; (p. 30)
Thrills, Action at Film Fest Fiona Purdon , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Mail , 6 April 2014; (p. 18-19)
Chilling Finale for Film Feast 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Mail , 13 April 2014; (p. 39)
Horror-Struck Supporters Stepped In Penelope Debelle , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 10 May 2014; (p. 9)
Motherly Love a Horror Nick Dent , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Mail , 18 May vol. 18 May no. 2014; (p. 81)
Last amended 27 Feb 2017 09:56:40
X