Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 32
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 32
  3. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Dec 15, 2014
    100
    The Babadook creates tension not with jump scares or chase sequences but with judicious editing and slow-burn suspense—that is, until it descends into a final half-hour of harrowing emotional and physical intensity, an extended climax that made me gasp aloud, hide my eyes, and weep at least twice.
  2. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Nov 28, 2014
    100
    The brilliance of The Babadook, beyond Ms. Kent’s skillful deployment of the tried-and-true visual and aural techniques of movie horror, lies in its interlocking ambiguities.
  3. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Nov 25, 2014
    100
    Jennifer Kent's maternal nightmare The Babadook is the imperial stout of recent fright flicks -- it's the one that will have you walking funny and might rip into your sleep. It's hard to say that you'll enjoy this film, but it's hard not to admire it, if maybe with your eyes half shut.
  4. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Oct 20, 2014
    100
    One of the strongest, most effective horror films of recent years — with awards-quality lead work from Essie Davis, and a brilliantly designed new monster who could well become the break-out spook archetype of the decade.
  5. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jan 26, 2014
    100
    On purely formal grounds (the ones on which the genre lives or dies), Kent is a natural. She favors crisp compositions and unfussy editing, transforming the banal house itself into a subtle, shadowy threat.
  6. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Nov 25, 2014
    91
    Believe it or not, though, the real horror of this superb Aussie monster movie has almost nothing to do with the title fiend and everything to do with the unspoken, unspeakable impulses he represents. Remove the Babadook from The Babadook, in other words, and something plenty terrifying remains.
  7. 90
    This is Kent’s first feature — an astonishing debut. Not perfect, though.
  8. Reviewed by: Inkoo Kang
    Nov 25, 2014
    90
    The Babadook is the rare horror tale that's also a triumph of empathy.
  9. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Jan 26, 2014
    90
    Kent and editor Simon Njoo show maturity and trust in their material, expertly building tension through the insidious modulation from naturalistic dysfunctional family drama to all-out boogeyman terror.
  10. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Dec 3, 2014
    89
    The crisp imagery (by Radek Ładczuk) creates a true sense of menace amid the household banality. Tales about mothers who fear their offspring also strike at a very primal level of mythic storytelling. Vigilance is the only means of protection against creatures from the id.
  11. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Dec 18, 2014
    88
    This is the scariest movie of the year.
  12. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 18, 2014
    88
    Here's one of the strongest feature film debuts in a long time, in any genre.
  13. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Dec 11, 2014
    88
    The feature debut of writer-director Jennifer Kent is not just genuinely, deeply scary, but also a beautifully told tale of a mother and son, enriched with layers of contradiction and ambiguity.
  14. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Dec 4, 2014
    88
    The Babadook remains a potent journey through the fears, anxieties, and repressed rages of motherhood. The ending, remarkably, gets to have it both ways, reminding us that some of the scariest monsters are the ones we learn to live with.
  15. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Nov 30, 2014
    88
    The finest and most genuinely provocative horror movie to emerge in this still very-new century.
  16. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Nov 25, 2014
    88
    The film’s slightly confusing ending doesn’t spell anything out, but that’s all right: We’re left sitting in the dark shivering, reassured there are still some directors who can leave us well and truly creeped out.
  17. Reviewed by: Abhimanyu Das
    Mar 20, 2014
    88
    Its horrors go beyond any single raggedy phantom, reaching back to the primordial fear of death and loss: of a child, of a loved one, of one's own sense of self.
  18. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Dec 18, 2014
    83
    If film's rapturous reception is due in part to the rarity of filmmaking this skillful within the horror genre, it's hard to begrudge this near-masterpiece of unease any of the praise it's gotten.
  19. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Nov 27, 2014
    83
    In an age when horror movies have mostly become lazy and toothless, here's one with ambition and bite.
  20. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Feb 1, 2014
    83
    The Babadook is a smart, respectful horror that puts character and emotional issues first, yet never at the cost of a delightful and haunting fright.
  21. Reviewed by: Steve Greene
    Jan 26, 2014
    83
    The Babadook isn't a transcendent horror film. But its ability to handle and manipulate the conventional tropes apparent in so many of its peers makes it a satisfying ride.
  22. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 11, 2014
    80
    The Babadook is a terrific horror film.
  23. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Nov 27, 2014
    80
    As a director, working with actors, she may have drawn on her own experience acting in features and TV; whatever her method, she has come up with a matched pair of terrific performances.
  24. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Nov 27, 2014
    80
    The film is quite serious about pushing its players and its audiences through the mental, as well as emotional, meat grinder. Many times along the way, you fear you know where things are going. But Kent is clever in choosing unexpected spots to pull the rug out from under you.
  25. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Nov 26, 2014
    80
    It would be enough for The Babadook to get by on scares alone—the eponymous spook is eminiently franchise-able—but Kent doesn’t give the audience that kind of distance. Her agenda is more personal.
  26. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Nov 25, 2014
    80
    So many horror films trade depth for a thrill. The Babadook has both. It dispenses with cheap scares and draws tension from a slowly enveloping dread. And when you think you know where it’s going, that’s when it goes in for the kill.
  27. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Nov 24, 2014
    80
    No male director would have put so much as a toe inside this trouble zone, although Kent does borrow a helpful domestic hint from “Shaun of the Dead”: rather than vanquish our worst nightmare, why not tame it, lock it away, and hope?
  28. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Feb 6, 2014
    80
    This meticulously designed and directed debut feature from writer-director Jennifer Kent (expanded from her award-winning short, “Monster”) manages to deliver real, seat-grabbing jolts while also touching on more serious themes of loss, grief and other demons that can not be so easily vanquished.
  29. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Dec 18, 2014
    75
    This is a dark and shivery story about motherhood, a common subject for horror movies, but one that’s rarely treated with such intelligence or seriousness of intent.
  30. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Dec 5, 2014
    75
    The Babadook, then, is a study in madness that lurks beneath the surface. But it is also very much (and amusingly) a look at the trials of parenting, especially single-parenting: those days when you just want to, well, get your child out of the picture somehow. Of course, you don't act on those impulses. That's what the movies are for.
  31. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Nov 26, 2014
    75
    Kent will have you climbing the walls simply by plumbing the violence of the mind. Brace yourself.
  32. 63
    Manages to pop the hairs on the back of your neck more than most repetitive, predictable and gory Hollywood horror films these days.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 162 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 38
  2. Negative: 7 out of 38
  1. Nov 28, 2014
    10
    Far from traditional, this is by far the best horror film released in the past five years. Like the scariest bits taken from David Lynch butFar from traditional, this is by far the best horror film released in the past five years. Like the scariest bits taken from David Lynch but stretched over a 90 minute running time. The Babadook is a highly accomplished debut feature - great film making, powerfully performed and utterly terrifying. Full Review »
  2. Nov 28, 2014
    10
    Essie Davis is electrifying in "The Babadook", and the storyline itself is profound and crawly. Jennifer Kent's debut is an exemplary tale ofEssie Davis is electrifying in "The Babadook", and the storyline itself is profound and crawly. Jennifer Kent's debut is an exemplary tale of catastrophe and tepidity. Full Review »
  3. Nov 29, 2014
    0
    I just watched this movie. I was rooting for the babadook! one of the worst movies I have ever seen! I will give the lead actress kudos, butI just watched this movie. I was rooting for the babadook! one of the worst movies I have ever seen! I will give the lead actress kudos, but story line was awful. I will be calling directv to get my money back Full Review »