I reviewed Australian indie horror film The Babadook last week, and I rather liked it. Since then it has been pointed out to me that the short film which formed the basis for the feature film, Monster, (both from director Jennifer Kent) is available free to view on Vimeo. You can watch it above.
It isn’t as good, I would say, as The Babadook, but Monster contains some of its most effective themes in a more stripped down, simplified, prototype version. As with Mama — another feature adapted from a short — it is telling that these concepts are being explored first by their directors in a shorter format, before being expanded to full length. Using both of these two examples, it does seem to be an effective approach.
I first became aware of The Babadook a fair while ago, at about the time that film festival audiences were raving about it. A low-budget, Australian, independent horror film, centring on a small cast, it seemed exactly my sort of thing. It also seemed like exactly the sort of thing which would get an all-too-brief release in a few small independent cinemas, before disappearing.
Fortunately (for me) not so! I am surprised and a little confused at the amount of coverage it has received, and more so to be able to see it in my local purveyor of cinema.
So the stakes are raised. In a pretty weak field of horror films out for Halloween (Note: Horns is not a horror film), this looked like the stand out offering. Which is a tough burden for any film to carry.