Movie review – The Babadook (2014)

Two days in a row of dark and depressing films. Thank God, it’s the weekend.

The Babadook is an Australian psychological horror film directed by Jennifer Kent and stars Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman as Amelia and Samuel Vanek.

The movie focuses on the grief and trauma Amelia continues to struggle with years after the death of her husband in a car accident. Coincidentally, it was the same night that her son Samuel was born.

This is a very heavy topic to talk about and film to watch because it’s going to be very personal for many people when they first watch it. Here, we have a woman turning her grief into anger and she lashes out at people reaching out to her, specifically her neighbor, Gracie. The reason she lashes out is due to others around her trying to distance themselves from her and her son.

Sam has erratic behavior and, to the audience in the opening minutes, he’s going to be very unlikable. He hurts other kids. He won’t stop screaming or crying, and he always has to sleep in his mother’s bed because he keeps being frightened by this entity he conjures up after he picks to read this children’s book, ‘Mister Babadook’. I honestly don’t know why it’s children’s book because it is incredibly frightening.

We side with Amelia early because she never has chances to relax and do what she wants. She suffers from no sleep and never gets to detach herself from her son. Unfortunately, she goes to great leaps and bounds to get her son to sleep and asks a doctor for sleeping pills that make Sam tired and sick throughout the day. Amelia was willing to abuse her son and make him suffer just show she could have more time to herself and that’s really the horror of this film.

The Babadook creature is quite frightening. It’s a tall figure with a top hat and long hands. It doesn’t move normally. It moves in quick frames when we see it crawl on the ceiling and it floats when it moves forward to attack its victims.

The creature, itself, is a physical manifestation of Amelia’s grief. We see it consume her to the point where she becomes possessed and she does some awful things that I’m not gonna spoil. When nobody wants to reach out to her and help her cope, she has to do it on her own and that’s really difficult from a mental standpoint.

The main message of this film is for people to have empathy for others you think act strange. You never know what’s going on in a person’s life so you have to do your part to reach out to them, listen to what they have to say, and be there to help them cope. I watched this with my roommate and he was emotionally ripped apart by this film because it hits way too close to home for him. Luckily, he had that support group to help him through that tough time, unlike Amelia.

I’m highly frustrated Davis didn’t receive any major awards for her role. She is PHENOMENAL and it’s a shame that the Academy doesn’t recognize horror films because The Babadook is so much more. This is another remarkable film but be prepared for some heavy, depressing subject material. It’s a film you really only need to see once.

Rating: 9/10

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