now playing




(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Irish horror finds down-on-his-luck farmer Dan (John Lynch) allowing John (Marcel Iureș), a scientist from a bio-corporation, to do genetic experiments on his cows for money. It is not only supposed to accelerate their growth, but increase fertility at an earlier age. The experiment goes awry and a calf is not only born with genetic defects, but pregnant with strange little creatures. The pretty local vet Orla (The Babadook’s Essie Davis), who is assisting John, tries to destroy them all, but one gets away and the parasitic creature now seeks a host to gestate and reproduce. It’s bite is also infectious making it even more dangerous. This puts Dan, Orla, two drifters camped out near Dan’s property (Sean Harris and Ruth Negga) and John in deep trouble as they try to stop it. Can they escape Dan’s isolated farm alive…should they?

Written and directed by Billy O’Brien, this is an effective and entertaining horror despite some familiar plot elements. We have seen stories about genetic experiments gone wrong, often, as we have ones about mutations that can reproduce and infect others very quickly. O’Brien uses these tropes well in creating atmosphere and tension as our small group of people try to stop the little bugger from getting off the farm or reproducing. His script gives us realistic characters throw into a nightmarish situation and he also plays around with our expectations as to who will survive…if any…and who is monster fodder. This keeps us off balance and unnerved, as on that level he doesn’t deliver what’s expected. This adds to the tension and if O’Brien is not keeping us in suspense as to where our beastie is and what it’s up to, he’s delivering some generous blood and gore and a vey unusual looking creature. It all makes for a solid little horror that may not be the most original in terms of story, but has a director who uses the familiar elements very well and to good effect.

One of the reasons the film also works is that we do like most of the characters and the actors help. John Lynch gives us a simple farmer in Dan, who makes a bad decision to save his farm and now regrets it greatly. He conveys that regret and the desire to make things right and stop the monster, very well. Nine years before she delivered a stunning performance in The Babadook, Essie Davis gives us a likable women in Orla, who has also has made a bad decision in helping the genetics firm mess with Dan’s cows. Like Dan, she is horrified at the result and yearns to see it stopped before it spreads. Marcel Iureș gives us a scientist, who while is basically the human villain of the piece, at first doesn’t seem so bad. He has us fooled for a while, then delivers a solid bad guy scientist when his true colors come through. As the drifters, Negga and Harris make a likable duo of not so innocents who get drawn into a nightmare, but valiantly try to help. A small but effective cast.

Not a perfect flick or overly original, but a solidly entertaining one from Billy O’Brien. It has plot elements we’ve seen before, but uses them well and effectively. The director creates some nice mood, atmosphere and tension and doesn’t skimp on the gore or critters either. The FX are well rendered, without any CGI and the cast all do good work with their respective characters, which helps make them believable and identifiable. A solid horror from Irish filmmaker O’Brien.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 cows who don’t remember being asked about participating in genetic experiments.

 isolation rating






Woman have always played a role in horror. Whether it be fiendish femme fatales, the damsels of yesteryear or the final girls of the modern era, they have always played a part. As this is Women In Horror Month, I’ve decide to look back at the past year and some very strong roles/performances from the ladies. 2014 was an exemplary year for female horror roles, as there were a lot of very strong performances from actresses in the lead parts of some of the year’s best flicks…and some movies where the performances was the only thing worth watching for. Which to me is solid proof that the ladies ruled horror in 2014!…

(Just click on the banners to go to our reviews of these films!)

#1 Essie Davis in The Babadook

essie davis

#2 Karen Gillan in Oculus

karen Gillan

#3 Jill Larson in The Taking Of Deborah Logan

jill larson

#4 Alex Essoe in Starry Eyes

alex essoe

#5 Rose Leslie in Honeymoon

rose leslie

#6 Tilda Swinton in Only Lovers Left Alive

tilda swinton

#7 Addison Timlin in The Town That Dreaded Sundown

addison timlin

#8 Sarah Snook in Jessabelle

sarah snook

#9 Danielle Harris in See No Evil 2

danielle harris

#10 Perdita Weeks in As Above, So Below

perdita weeks


Manuela Velasco in [REC] 4: Apocalypse

manuela Velasco

source: MonsterZero NJ




now playing




(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

The Babadook is an Australian horror film that has garnered quite a reputation online and I finally had a chance to catch up with it and am happy to report it not only lives up to it’s hype but, joins Oculus and The Town That Dreaded Sundown 2014 as one of the best horrors I have seen this year.

This very unsettling story, written and directed, by Jennifer Kent tells the chilling tale of Amelia (Essie Davis), a widow and single mother still traumatized by the death of her husband over 6 years ago. Making things harder on Amelia is that her son Sam (Noah Wiseman) has grown into a very strange and emotionally erratic young boy who is not only difficult at times, but, sometimes reminds the lonely woman a little too much of her husband. As her husband died in a car accident driving Amelia to the hospital to deliver Sam, the boy’s birthday brings back painful memories every year and his 7th birthday fast approaches. But, to complicate things even further, Sam begins to obsess over a scary children’s book called Mister Babadook and is insistent that the book’s supernatural fiend is after them. Stressed to the limits, Amelia begins to see the thing too. Is the emotionally strained woman loosing her mind… or are they actually being stalked by something not of this world that wishes both of them great harm?

Even without the supernatural element… if indeed there really is one… this would be a very spooky and disturbing movie. Kent skillfully paints a portrait of a woman on the edge from not only the emotional loss of her spouse, but, the increasingly difficult behavior of the only thing she has left to remind her of him, their son. And being reminded of him is not always a good thing and sometimes Amelia becomes resentful of Sam. The complicated emotions of dealing with a child whose birth is a constant reminder of a loved one’s death and who’s affections are sometimes misinterpreted and rejected by a woman who has been alone too long, are handled very effectively and I give Kent credit for tackling some of these sensitive issues head-on. Then we get the added element of the title creature, whose existence is constantly in question. Are they being stalked by a supernatural horror or is Amelia concocting a fiction villain on which to project her growing resentment and frustration with Sam. Jennifer Kent is not in a hurry to tell you and it makes the film all the more frightening as Amelia starts to unravel and becomes more aggressive towards her son and the appearances of The Babadook become more frequent and intense and yet, we are not sure what is real and what is imagined. Is she possessed by a supernatural fiend, or has she equated her son with the loss of her husband to the point of wishing the boy harm. Well… you’ll need to see the movie to find out but, it is an intriguing and sometimes downright scary journey either way, whether The Babadook is a real entity, or a figment of Amelia’s fragmenting emotional state. And Jennifer Kent takes us along for a very bone-chilling ride that builds steadily, suspense-fully and strongly to it’s nail-biting last act. On top of all this, Kent has a very gothic visual style brought to vibrant life by Radek Ladczuk’s cinematography and there is an atmospheric score from Jed Kurzel to add to the already strong atmosphere that Jennifer Kent maintains throughout the film.

As for it’s minimal cast, the effectiveness of this fright flick is enhanced further as Kent also gets a tour de force performance out of star Essie Davis. Davis is simply riveting as a woman who loves her child very much but, is being exhausted not only by his increasingly difficult behavior but, by the constant reminder that he is of the loss of the man she loved. She is downright frightening at times as she becomes increasingly unraveled and aggressive towards her son and whether it be supernatural influence or simply a woman loosing control, she is a powerhouse. Young Noah Wiseman is equally effective as Sam. This is an instance where a child character is supposed to be annoying, to illustrate how much his mother has to deal with by herself and being the only bread winner in the house, too. It is difficult to watch Wiseman’s Sam at times so, we understand how tough it is for his single mom to handle this emotionally challenged… and sometimes downright creepy… little boy. The young actor nails it but, also surprises us, too as when Sam comes to face and deal with a mother who may mean him harm when she comes under, what may or may not be, the Babadook’s influence. The supporting cast are all effective as well, but, it’s Davis and Wiseman’s show as the way.

I really enjoyed this flick, it was intense, faced down some very sensitive emotional issues, was downright scary at times and all within the framework of a film that was both supernatural horror and psychological thriller. Jennifer Kent keeps us guessing as to whether this is a scary tale of a malevolent entity or an equally frightening tale of a mother unraveling to the point of wanting to endanger her own child. I certainly won’t tell you which it is, but, I will say, that either way, you will be properly disturbed and chilled by the time the credits roll.

3 and 1/2 creepy kids.

babadook rating