Proof that there's life in the horror genre beyond jump scares and CGI ghouls, this absolutely stunning directorial debut from Australian filmmaker Jennifer Kent is one of the best horrors of the decade so far. On the surface, this looks just like another haunted house screamer; but its actually got a lot more in common with, say, The Shining in that it's an incredibly intelligent, well-observed study of mental health trauma, and that much of what transpires may be entirely metaphorical and/or a product of a mind teetering on the brink of pychosis. At the core of it is an absolutely phenomenal performance from Essie Davis as a burnt-out, semi-comatose widow struggling to raise her son who has a few issues to put it mildly. That the child (also played effectively) is acutely irritating (yet also desperately sympathetic) is deliberate, and you can literally see the mother's mental collapse unfold as time goes on. Parents will find this aspect of the story especially relatable and compelling. Ravaged by exhaustion, insomnia, stress, guilt and overwhelming grief, Amelia is clearly terrified of what she might be driven to do. I recently criticised Winona Ryder's performance as a frantically worried mother in Stanger Things, finding her horribly unconvincing. Here ladies and gentlemen is the real deal. It's one of the best performances I've ever seen in any film. The titular 'monster' and its manifestation in a children's pop up book is also cleverly realised, frightening and clever. With special effects acheived in-camera or via practical effects, it's also an innovative film and doesn't fall back on lazy tropes. At first I wasn't sure about the ending, however thinking about it its completely appropriate as anyone who has had mental illness will confirm: you don't vanquish your demons, you simply learn to live with them and keep them locked safely away. Fantastic.