The Babadook: flipping horror to explore taboo

Australian horror film "The Babadook" throws horror conventions out the window -- and scoops up the accolades as it goes.

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When Jennifer Kent made her short film "Monster", she was exploring a simple idea about a mother, a child and a childhood fear. However, she realised that her short film -- which garnered a lot of positive feedback on the festival circuit -- was merely the seed of a much bigger idea.

Thus was born "The Babadook", a deeply strange film that delves into a topic that is rarely discussed: what if a mother cannot love her own child?

When the Screen Australia funding wasn't quite enough to finish her film, Kent, as many young filmmakers are doing in increasing droves, turned to Kickstarter. The film only just pipped its funding goal -- but it was enough to push it over the edge.

It's not the usual sort of horror film. It stars a single mother and her son, sure -- a set-up that is pretty familiar -- and there are supernatural forces at work -- but the source of the horror is an internal one, and The Babadook deals solidly with grief, frustration, tiredness and pain in unusual ways.

Earlier this year, it hit Sundance, where it picked up rave reviews. CNETcaught up with Jennifer Kent -- the film's writer and director -- to talk crowdfunding, horror and motherhood.

"The Babadook" is in Australian cinemas now, and has picked up distribution deals for the US and the UK for later this year.

 

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