Writer and director Jennifer Kent fleshes out an original short film into The Babadook, one of the most terrifying horror films of recent times. Left reeling in the wake of her husband’s death, Amelia (Essie Davies) struggles to take care of their out of control son Sam (Noah Wiseman). But when Sam’s unhealthy fascination with monsters starts to rub off on Amelia’s fragile state of self, things take a turn for the sinister. Instead of relying on stunts and physical scares, The Babadook instead succeeds by invading innate, primal fears to build a tremendously unsettled, realistic atmosphere, magnified by some strong camera and lighting choices. Kent’s sharp script compliments, too, utilising clever tactics to keep the audience in the dark as to what’s real and what’s in the mind. It’s the performances though that provide the film with its true edge. Davies is nothing short of exceptional as Amelia, her increasingly unbalanced state a perfect breeding environment for tricks of the mind, while Wiseman is also strong. The Babadook works not only as a deeply unsettling horror piece, but also as a psychological thriller that hooks with its understanding of what truly frightens us (loss, loneliness, burden) and refuses to surrender.