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DVD releases: ‘Babadook’ creates sense of terror without gimmicks, gore

Rick Bentley Tribune News Service

This is a thin week for new DVD releases. But, thin is OK when what is available is so good. Among the releases are those that will make you turn on a night light and test your legal knowledge.

• “The Babadook,” A-minus: Director Jennifer Kent has managed to avoid the common mistakes too many filmmakers make when they rely on gore and loud sounds to startle viewers. She’s created a movie that is terrifying without such gimmicks.

A living nightmare creeps into the lives of a single mother, Amelia (Essie Davis), and her young son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman). The Babadook is a killer entity introduced into their lives through a child’s pop-up book.

It’s been a long time since a creature this scary has come along in film. The film skirts just enough reality to make it seem possible.

Amelia continues to deal with the death of her husband the night her son was born. Is the Babadook just the manifestation of her mental collapse? Is it a real creature attracted to the pain and fear in the house?

“The Babadook” offers plenty of haunting moments.

• “JAG: The Complete Series,” B: The box set includes all 227 episodes from the 10 seasons the series, which stars David James Elliott.

The series follows Judge Advocate General officers Harmon “Harm” Rabb Jr. (Elliott) and Sarah “Mac” MacKenzie (Catherine Bell) and their team. This often includes cases involving military murder, treason and terrorism.

The show is an interesting courtroom drama, but it also has a string of strong performances by both Elliott and Bell. The show’s stars gave the legal drama more depth.

This is also a way to see how the current top drama, “NCIS,” got started. The Mark Harmon series is a spinoff of “JAG.”

Also new on DVD

“Big Eyes”: Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) became an artistic success in the ’50s with her paintings of children with huge eyes.

“Foyle’s War: Set 8”: This is the final season of the series starring Michael Kitchen.

“Batman vs. Robin”: Batman must battle his own son in this animated adventure.

“Joe 90: The Complete Series”: An ordinary boy becomes anything but ordinary.

“The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death”: The supernatural terror returns.

“Mom’s Day Away”: A mom gets whisked off for a weekend away from her family. James Tupper stars.

“Little House on the Prairie: Season 5”: Includes 24 episodes of the TV series.

“The Missing”: Man becomes obsessed with finding abducted son. James Nesbitt stars.

“Enter the Dangerous Mind”: An obsession turns man into human time bomb. Jake Hoffman stars.

“Antarctica: A Year on Ice”: Documentary on people who live in the frozen land all year.

“Beside Still Waters”: Friends share secrets during a weekend at the lake. Ryan Eggold stars.

“The Man with the Iron Fists 2”: Mysterious stranger leads a rebellion to liberate a Chinese village.

“Walker, Texas Ranger: Flashback”: Walker (Chuck Norris) chases killers looking for a lost treasure.

“John Doe Vigilante”: Jamie Bamber plays a man who dishes out his own brand of justice.

“Bark Ranger”: Barkley the dog and two children go looking for treasure.

“God Help This Girl”: Music helps form a bond for three mental patients.

“I Really Hate My Ex”: Three women kidnap their exes in order to get closure.

“Vengeance of an Assassin”: Man searches for those who killed his parents.

“Carrie”/ “The Rage: Carrie”: Includes both tales of a prom gone bad.

“Roadside”: Travelers are taken hostage by an unseen gunman.

“Call of the Wildman: Season 4”: Turtleman seeks out critters that no one else wants.

“Power Rangers Super Megaforce: The Perfect Storm”: The team must become stronger than ever to beat a new foe.

“Dean Martin Roasts: Stingers & Zingers”: Includes 24 roasts with guests Ted Knight, Truman Capote and Evel Knievel.

“Metal Hurland Chronicles: The Complete Series”: Guillaume Lubrano’s adaptation of the comic anthology. Rutger Hauer stars.

“Whitney”: Angela Basset directs this cable film about the music icon.

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