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The Babadook


[Content Warning: If you’re unaware, this is a horror film. Some pretty dark stuff follows.]

A rumbling sound then three sharp knocks: BA BA DOOK DOOK DOOK. That’s when you’ll know that he’s around. In The Babadook, directed by Jennifer Kent, a single mother, depressed because of the death of her husband, starts being stalked by a monster, whose presence frightens her son and causes her to go crazy. 

Mister Babadook first manifests in his own creepy picture book, which is read to a little boy named Samuel by his mother Amelia. Samuel is super freaked out (I would be too), so he starts to avoid his room. His behavior from here on out gets worse and worse, so Amelia, tired of the book and a little scared, decides to throw it out. She tears the entire book apart and tosses it in the bin outside, only for it to end up on her doorstep the next morning. Worried that she is being stalked, Amelia decides to burn it, only for it to end up at her house again. By this point, she is paranoid that someone is cruelly tricking her, so she talks to very few people.

From the beginning of the movie, we know that Amelia resents her son because her husband died in a car accident on the way to the hospital when she was in labor with him. This resentment towards Samuel develops into hatred the more Amelia sees Mister Babadook, and she even attempts to kill him. Meanwhile, Amelia is very lonely, since the people in her life don’t want to spend time with her. She is severely depressed, which causes people to not want to hang out with her. This is seen the first time we hear Mister Babadook’s voice. Amelia is calling her selfish sister Claire to get help, but Claire believes that Amelia is making it all up to get attention. As soon as Claire hangs up, the phone rings again. Excited and relieved that Claire might actually care and sympathize, she picks up the phone, where Mister Babadook is on the other line taunting her by shouting his name.

Honestly, this is probably one of the “scariest” parts of the movie because I didn’t really see it coming, and he has a pretty creepy voice. The first time we see Babadook is when Amelia is washing dishes at her kitchen sink, and I actually jumped when she looked up at the window and saw her neighbor sitting in her living room, with Mister Babadook standing right behind her. Eventually, Amelia is possessed by Mister Babadook, killing her dog and attempting to kill Samuel. I kind of found it funny when she was trying to kick in the door to find Samuel in his room because the scene was so chaotic. Amelia was a literal monster trying to kill her son, and she’s still running up the stairs, chasing him. 

Mister Babadook is a visual representation of Amelia’s grief, something constantly affecting her life. Mister Babadook can never leave her house, representing how grief never leaves. Surprisingly, Samuel traps him in the basement, his home forever, where he is fed worms by Amelia. Also, that annoying kid finally got a birthday party at the end, but because he was so insufferable to everyone, only his mom attended it. 

I really loved this movie and it lived up to my expectations. I think that it was even better than what I expected it to be, because it didn’t have to rely on the use of jump scares like most horror movies do. It was also super low budget, at $2 million, against which it grossed $10 million. It has also won a bunch of awards, even though it was the director’s first movie. The Babadook is such a great movie because not only was it scary, but it was very emotional, and leaves you thinking about it after it ends. I think about it a lot because the story stays with you, and you wonder how Mister Babadook will continue to change the family’s lives. Also, the Australian accents were one of my favorite things about the movie. It was my first ever Australian horror movie, and it certainly won’t be my last. Aussie accents make everything better!

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