Daniel Henshall

Daniel Henshall

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The Babadook Review


Excellent

For her first feature, Australian actress-turned-filmmaker Jennifer Kent creates a startlingly effective horror movie by combining serious scariness with some darkly evocative emotion. Shot in a classical style that doesn't rely on special effects, this is a remarkable film that deploys a terrifying boogeyman while saying some resonant things about grief and mental illness.

The story picks up almost seven years after Amelia (Essie Davis) buried her husband Oskar (Benjamin Winspear in flashbacks) just as her son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) was born. But Samuel is supremely high-maintenance, alienating his classmates, teachers and family members like his cousin Ruby (Chloe Horn), daughter of Amelia's sister Claire (Hayley McElhinney). Demanding and always talking about monsters, Samuel has made Amelia's life so stressful that she can't sleep, and in her frazzled state she begins to believe that the Babadook (Tim Purcell), a character from an outrageously creepy pop-up book, is truly invading their home. To calm down, she asks her doctor to prescribe sedatives for both of them. But things only get worse.

Made like an old-school horror movie, with things moving around the edges and going "Dook! Dook! Dook!" in the night, the film benefits from its in-camera effects because there's the sense that there's something genuinely on the set with the actors. There's even a shadow-filled basement where Amelia has stored Oskar's things. Kent shoots everything with a careful perspective that echoes Amelia's increasingly disoriented point of view, so all of Samuel's annoying whininess unnerves the audience as much as it does her. Davis and Wiseman are superb in the roles, expressing inner emotions as their fear merges with lingering grief as well as a growing frustration that no one understands what they are going through.

Continue reading: The Babadook Review

Snowtown Review


Excellent
Based on a nightmarish true story, this Australian drama starts in a squalid home and descends into pure horror. And by eerily underplaying everything while keeping us off-balance, the filmmakers make one of the most terrifyingly original movies of the year.

In a rough late-90s Adelaide neighbourhood, 16-year-old Jamie (Pittaway) lives with his mother Liz (Harris), three brothers and Liz's eerily charming new man John (Henshall). After Liz discovers that a paedophile lives across the street, John teaches Jamie how to express his anger, slowly earning his loyalty. Then Jamie begins to realise that John is actually killing people he despises, mostly because they're gay. And by the time his fears become founded, he's in too deep to escape from John's grip.

Continue reading: Snowtown Review

Snowtown Trailer


Jamie Vlassakis had a troubled childhood; he was molested by a neighbour and his half brother, Troy Youde. At the age of sixteen, he is living with his mother, Elizabeth, Troy and his step brother David, when salvation in a form of a father figure appears.

Continue: Snowtown Trailer

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Daniel Henshall Movies

The Babadook Movie Review

The Babadook Movie Review

For her first feature, Australian actress-turned-filmmaker Jennifer Kent creates a startlingly effective horror movie by...

Snowtown Movie Review

Snowtown Movie Review

Based on a nightmarish true story, this Australian drama starts in a squalid home and...

Snowtown Trailer

Snowtown Trailer

Jamie Vlassakis had a troubled childhood; he was molested by a neighbour and his half...

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