The Babadook

Filled with references to early cinema and classic fairy tales, this Australian horror film offers a grim, bone-chilling atmosphere but suffers from a schematic narrative. A beaten-down nurse (Essie Davis) grapples with her volatile seven-year-old son (Noah Wiseman), who was born the same day her husband died a violent death. The mother is prone to emotional outbursts and the son to violent and psychotic behavior, so when they’re plagued by a mystical ghoul, one can’t be sure whether it’s real or a byproduct of their shared psychodrama. Jennifer Kent directed her own script.