***POTENTIAL SPOILERS** Then again, it’s on NF. Deal.
So FINALLY we have arrived at The Babadook this week. Sure, it took Netflix to slap that puppy on Instant for us to watch, but I’m sorta kinda pretty maybe happy we waited and took the plunge now after all the hoopla settled. Shall we?
The Babadook was written and directed by Jennifer Kent, you know…of Babe: Pig in the City fame (duh), and focuses on a mother desperately trying to move past the untimely death of her husband on the day their son was born. This proves pretty challenging as now the boy is 7 or 8-ish and is fully aware of his father’s death. Honestly, the mother and son are just hot bowls of mess over it. Mom Amelia is a walking basketcase, unable to sleep or regain any sense of normalcy, and her son Samuel is a little hellion. He is seemingly causing trouble at every turn. It isn’t until one day that a mysterious book appears in their house that really sets the film ablaze. The book is essentially about a monster..uh yeah…a monster named The Babadook that infests itself in their everyday life only to raise unholy hell. Apparently he is a devious sunuvagun. Regardless, the mother (who has now manifested some version of the monster in her own life) and son have no choice but to join forces through the struggle of their loss in order to reign supreme over Mr. Dook.
I suppose on the surface that’s all the movie is really about. I mean it does mostly everything right. It begins with tragedy, Amelia and Samuel are both horrifyingly scary individually and interacting together, and who isn’t afraid of a monster hiding in the shadows? I’m sure every one of us can look back and think to a time when we were young and scared to death of every shift of light and every peep of sound. The whole idea of the film is quite good actually. So why am I so blah about it? The ending left much to be desired, so yeah I guess I’m left with a foul taste in my mouth. Now let’s talk about what the movie was really about, cool?
I don’t normally dive into symbolism and metaphors. I like horror films to just be all superficial and treat me like a one-night stand, as if after the film is over I’ll be doing the walk of shame back to my dorm wearing the same dress as the night before, one broken heel in tow. The Babadook though. I just really have no creative segue on this. It appears obvious to ME that this nasty narrative nuisance was really a metaphor for the mother and son both dealing with the blame they put on each other for the death of their husband/father. Throughout the whole movie it’s glaringly obvious at times that the two wish nothing but ill will towards one another. In my highly amateur estimation, they both blamed each other and that blame and grief manifested itself in the form of a monster from a book that never really existed in the physical world to begin with. Yeah, that sounds kinda smart, right?!
So those are my thoughts, plain and simple. Someone please chime in and tell me if I’m off my rocker or can you get behind that as well? Either way, I absolutely commend the film for what message I took from it, and for that reason I gave it a 6.5 out of 10. In closing, The Babadook: neither Baba, nor dook. Discuss amongst ya’selves…