Book pages can't contain demon

December 4, 2014 10:13 PM

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I was an easily frightened child, and nothing scared me more than certain picture books. Something about the static images, the simple words and the unseen menaces hidden between pages made books much more sinister than, say, movies, and quite a few volumes that now seem perfectly innocuous were banished from my bedroom shelves. I had forgotten about this youthful phobia until I saw "The Babadook," the debut feature by Australian director Jennifer Kent. Or rather, until I came home from the screening, went to bed and woke up in the throes of the kind of nightmare that was the reason I had shunned those books in the first place.

The Babadook is a black-hatted, long-taloned, snaggletoothed figure - a sort of monochrome, pen-and-ink Freddy Krueger - who lives between the bright-red covers of a story that shows up in the house of Amelia (Essie Davis) and her 6-year-old son, Sam (Noah Wiseman). Their household is a creepy place...

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