A sad, frazzled widow (Essie Davis) and her troubled little son (Noah Wiseman) are stalked by the title children’s pop-up book character.

Rooting its scares in recognisably real situations and emotions, this is a superior chiller and Australian writer-director Jennifer Kent creates spine-tingling chills from her film’s creepy, colour-drained setting and deft sound effects. The dry croak with which the creature announces his name – ‘Ba-ba-dook’ – is truly unnerving.

However, this is a film as much about dealing with grief – Davis has yet to come to terms with her husband’s death in a car accident on the day her son was born – as it is a traditional horror movie and it’s the superb acting from Davis and Wiseman that ensures the story gets under your skin.