If I was to say the word ‘Babadook,’ what would your reaction be? Would you grow hungry for some presumed Mediterranean delicacy? Cringe at the thought of some low-rent The Lorax ripoff? Assume I was mildly unstable and begin backing away?

Well, it turns out the correct response is to hide under the covers and sob quietly. The Babadook is actually a boogeyman of sorts- and more importantly, it’s a horror film premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It also (despite the inclusion of the word “Babadook”) looks to rank fairly high on the Scare-O-Meter.

So here’s how the film goes. A single mother (Essie Davis) and her son (Noah Wiseman) live a somewhat stable life, both coping with the recent death of their husband/father. But when the little boy begins reading a picture book called “The Babadook,” he reacts violently and begins a hunt for a real-life Babadook. Before long, Mom finds herself stalked by the same creature. Is the Babadook real? Are both mother and son crazy? Who knows! Presumably we’ll find out at Sundance.

The trailer’s storybook vibe is spooky and smartly done and the trailer manages a steady level of creep without resorting to too many jump scares. It may occasionally smack of Mama (a ghoul only a troubled child can see at first) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (unsettling nursery rhymes), but for the most part The Babadook seems to be its own beast entirely. Having a title like The Babadook certainly doesn’t hurt. Look for this one when the inevitable tide of Sundance reviews comes pouring in. Check out the first trailer below (thanks to Twitch)

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