Movie Review: The Babadook
If it's in a word
Or in a look
You can't get rid of
A horror movie without a jumpscare? Finally!
Probably the most interesting movie I've seen in the past few months, mostly because it actually made you think a bit. I'll admit, the ending was probably the least satisfying part of the movie. In its attempt to be deep, it sacrificed quite a bit of explaining. I honestly had to google just what I just watched to ensure I wasn't missing something and found that many others didn't quite grasp exactly what the hell was going on either.
I suppose the best place to start would be the name.
"The Babadook" was probably what convinced me to watch the movie, or to be more precise, what convinced me to at least check out the trailer. It's a play on letters. "A Bad Book" can be scrambled to form "Babadook" which is the central theme of the movie, a story book that threatens the lives of a child and his single mother, Amelia (Essie Davis).
After losing her husband in a car crash to the hospital while in labor with Samuel (Noah Wiseman), she struggles to carry on living but seems to be unable to move on. Gradually she begins to lose her mind. Having bouts of insomnia and avoidance.
Amelia leaves her job as a story book writer, and a writer for a magazine, to work as a geriatric nurse. She struggles to pay her bills and spends most of the night channel surfing. Her subconscious seems to assimilate more than she realizes and a strange book appears on the bookshelf of her son's bedtime books. It seems she created it while sleepwalking in a sense (but does not become apparent until the end).
Curiously she begins reading. The story progressively unfolds that Amelia is in fact the Babadook, representing her hidden pain. She has hypermanic episodes in which she becomes violent, boisterous and eventually killing the family dog. These episodes are instantly relieved by external affection, demonstrated by Samuel and Amelia's neighbor who admits she cares deeply for them both.
At the end of the movie, the Babadook reveals himself, and suddenly retreats to the basement where her deceased husbands belongings were kept. A modern shrine almost.
This was the confusing part. The ended pretty abruptly without explaining why the Babadook stayed, what he wanted, and who he was.
After some googling, however, it seems the symbolism in this movie was to the point of ridiculous, and the Babadook was actually Amelia's mental baggage. The dog, which symbolizes loyalty, was killed. Consequently, her loyalty to her deceased husband, along with it.
The Babadook retreated to the basement symbolizing that you can never truly get rid of the corpse of the past. You have to make a conscious decision to live along side it and CHOOSING to be happy rather than expecting to.
I wish they executed this a bit better. With a 2 million dollar budget I'm sure they could have done so easily.
Overall I'm not disappointed though. I ended up giving this movie a solid 6.5/10
PS: Essie Davis totally nailed the Bipolar role. Looking forward to more of her movies to come!