“The Babadook” is a 2014 Australian horror film that relays the message of how grief can completely dominate the life of a human being.
The film is about a single mother, Amelia, who lost her husband, Oskar, in a car accident while he was rushing her to the hospital to give birth. Six years later, she struggles to discipline her son, Samuel, whom she also finds impossible to love. Samuel has nightmares about a monster who he believes is coming to kill both him and his mother, but they get worse when a storybook called “The Babadook” shows up at their house. His hallucinations get out of control and actions become even more erratic and violent. Amelia slowly begins to unravel as she, too, begins to see and feel threatened by a menacing, disturbing creature all around her.
Depression is one of the main themes in the film. It depicts that depression can conquer the mind to the point where one is unable to decipher between hallucinations and reality. After watching this film, I was left slightly confused as I was never able to understand the concept behind the Babadook, whether it was completely provoked by Amelia’s grief over the death of her husband and her inability to love her, or if the Babadook monster was an actual creature that was terrorizing her and Samuel.
It was painfully obvious that Amelia was miserable and hated her life. She had a job working at a nursing home of which she dreaded, her sister, Claire, kept a distance from them and Samuel is seemingly unbearable with his interest in building weapons, over-attachments and getting removed from school. Amelia had been grieving every day since her son was born because it is a daily reminder that Oskar is no longer with her. This affects her relationship with Samuel in heartbreaking ways and every time Samuel attempts to come close to her, she pushes him away.
It took awhile to reach the horror element of the film, but was probably necessary because it laid the foundation for the scary scenes with the Babadook. It wore a black cloak of darkness, had knives for fingers, peculiar hunchbacked wiry frame and a creepy voice that gave me the goosebumps. Once the viewers see Amelia and Samuel’s lives crumble piece-by-piece, the Babadook comes closer and closer into view. I was a little puzzled because I assumed the Babadook would have no longer existed after Amelia had finally accepted Oskar’s death and began fighting for and showing love towards her son. But in the end, when she brought a bowl of worms to her basement for the creature, it was evident that something was still living down there and that she was tending to it.
“The Babadook” was not what I expected, but enjoyed watching it nonetheless. I would recommend the film to anyone who takes pleasure in watching psychological horror and has an interest in a mother-son dynamic as they are haunted by a uniquely frightening monster called the Babadook.
Watch the official trailer below: