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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Thoughts on Open Windows and The Babadook

I watched two horror thriller movies yesterday, Open Windows and The Babadook.

Open Windows is a 2014 Spanish suspense techno-thriller written and directed by Nacho Vigolondo (Timecrimes), starring Elijah Wood as a guy who wins a contest to have dinner with a popular film actress (Sasha Grey). But after she unexpectedly cancels the contest and the date, he ends up becoming the pawn in a mysterious computer hacker's quest to destroy her life via hidden cameras and often goads Wood's character into hacking and invading her privacy and doing morally questionable things to get to her. The film is shown from POVs of webcams, phone cameras, security cameras, etc., and I thought it made the film look more creative, and helped to bring a lot of suspense to it. Wood was really good in this, I like that he has chosen a lot more adventurous indie movies to act in, like this and Maniac. Sasha Grey was good, too, she got to show more acting ability beyond just her sexuality. It had a third act with some bad twists in it, but I was hooked into most of the film.

The Babadook is a 2014 Australian-Canadian horror film, written and directed by Jennifer Kent, starring Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman. I had dismissed it before because I thought the title sounded dumb, but it was really good. The film is about a single mother and her son, both dealing with grief from her husband's death in a car accident on the way to her giving birth to their child. The boy is having behavioral problems, seems to be on the autism spectrum, and claims to be haunted by a monster from a children's book called the Babadook. The mother is socially isolated from her peers, and gets upset whenever her late husband's name is mentioned, or when her son's unruly antics makes her look bad in front of others. The monster takes control of their lives, stalking them and terrorizing them, especially as prophecies from the book begin to come true.

I liked that the film had deeper meaning to it, about trauma and grief and denial of the dark side of life. Both the leads were very good in this, and the sound design played a huge part in amplifying the fear and isolation of the mother and son. The monster was more a symbol than a typical boogeyman, and I emphasized with both mother and son. So I highly recommend it.

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