... This is achieved through a vice-like grip on every aspect of the film by writer and director Jennifer Kent. She keeps everything in line and on point, ...
This is actually what undoes the film for me. It's lean, functional and illustrative. You can put an equal sign between the grief and the Babadook and there is no surplus, nothing that doesn't compute. The look and sound is well-crafted and so are the plot twists and reversals. Kent does everything right, yet the result did neither interest nor scare me.
I can see that happening. There are times when I like messiness and excess in films, and horror is certainly a genre that can stand a little extra stuff, but there's something about such a complete and controlled film that really works for me as well. It's impressive, as you said, even if it isn't engaging for everybody.