Jennifer Kent's “The Babadook” was the best horror film of 2014, and Essie Davis should have scored a Best Actress nod for her fierce portrayal of a mother in crisis. There, I said it!
To her credit, Kent is smart enough to know that the Academy isn't keen on recognizing horror movies in the major categories, and thusly has taken a page from fellow Oceanian Peter Jackson's playbook for her followup, an adaptation of Alexis Coe's non-fiction book “Alice + Freda Forever.” It could not get much more “Heavenly Creatures”-y than this! Check out the synopsis, courtesy Deadline:
Coe based her book on research that included more than 100 love letters, maps, artifacts, historical documents, newspaper articles and courtroom proceedings to tell the tragic, real-life love story of Alice Mitchell and Freda Ward. After their love letters were discovered, the women were forbidden to ever speak again. Ward adjusted to this with apparent ease, and that left Mitchell heartbroken. The result was fatal, jealous rage. Ward”s murder trial was one of the most sensational of its time.
Jackson famously veered from grossout horror fare like “Bad Taste” and “Braindead” to “Creatures,” which won him mainstream critical respect and earned him a nod for Best Original Screenplay. The film, which was based on real events, starred Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey as Juliet Hume and Pauline Parker, teenage girls who formed an obsessive relationship and ultimately murdered Pauline's mother under the threat of separation. (It should be noted that while the girls were “accused” at the time of carrying on a lesbian affair, Hume — who later started a successful career as a mystery novelist under the pen name Anne Perry — has denied that the relationship was sexual.)
While there are obvious differences in the real-life stories — the obsession in the Mitchell-Ward case was one-sided, for example — Kent's choice in material makes for an interesting parallel with Jackson's career trajectory. Can't wait to see what she does with this fascinating, little-known story.