Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Babadook


(2014)

A troubled young six year old named Samuel is taken out of school after exhibiting extreme behavioral problems. His father died in a car accident driving his mother to the hospital and this death resulted in a devastating and lingering effect on his mother, which likely contributes to Samuel’s volatile disposition. One evening he discovers a mysterious children’s book on his shelf called Mister Babadook and asks his mother to read it to him. Amelia is mortified to learn that the book contains dark and disturbing content such as “what you see underneath (your bed) will make you wish that you were dead”.

Samuel becomes convinced that the Babadook is stalking him and he prepares to defend himself with weapons and booby traps Home Alone-style. It’s a superbly acted film and it's easy to sympathize with Samuel because he's so convincingly terrified. You also sympathize with Amelia, who has not coped well with her grief. Constantly she struggles to keep it together but simply can't. She frequently lashes out at Samuel, saying hurtful things like "why can't you be normal?" before becoming overcome with guilt.

The Babaook himself is instantly iconic and sinister looking. He lives in the shadows, moves quickly and delights in Samuel's fear. Unlike other horror movie monsters who will go away if you stop believing in them, the more you deny the Babadook, the stronger he gets. Or, as the age-old rebuttal to the accusation "whoever smelt it dealt it" goes - the more you deny it, the more you supplied it. I wouldn't be surprised if this spawns a sequel or 4.

12 comments:

50PageMcGee said...

i viewed her lashing out as an intoxicating effect of the babadook. kind of like in amityville horror how james brolin gets surlier as the ghosts in the house start to lightly possess him, or jack torrance in the shining.

Octopunk said...

Excellent review, Mr. Pants. I will probably have to see this.

JPX said...

Excellent summation and review and I completely agree with your rating. I watched this out of season and absolutely loved this film. Mister Babadook is terrifying. "the more you deny it, the more you supplied it." Haha

Catfreeek said...

Watched this off season as well, it seems to be the "must watch" film of the season. Enjoyable review as always. Oh and my boy is now in your time zone.

Trevor said...

I'm surprised, I thought that "It Follows" would be the "must watch of the season. I guess that one's still coming.

JPX said...

I LOVED "It Follows", my favorite American horror movie in at least 5 years!

AC said...

Perfect plot description Johhny Sweatpants!! Glad so many people have watched and enjoyed this one! Don't know how I feel about the sequel idea though (look at Annabelle).

Johnny Sweatpants said...

I didn't say "good" sequel AC.

I watched It Follows for a 2nd time last night.

AC said...

Hah HAH! Touché!

Johnny Sweatpants said...

I stand corrected! From Dark Horizons:

Scoring amongst the best reviews of the year, there's no denying that Australian filmmaker Jennifer Kent has delivered a truly remarkable debut film with her horror tale "The Babadook".

Of course when it comes to horror, studios have a tendency to generate numerous sequels to works that did not require it, and in the process diminish the value of said works. Speaking with IGN, Kent has revealed that by careful planning ahead, "The Babadook" will face no such problems:


"Well, the good news is, I had the foresight to make sure that my producer and I owned the rights to any sequels. The reason for that is I will never allow any sequel to be made, because it's not that kind of film. I don't care how much I'm offered, it's just not going to happen.

[Laughs] It's just not what the film's about. It would destroy the integrity of everything we worked so hard to protect. So we are publishing a version of the book, and really that's not about merchandising; it's about creating a standalone, beautiful piece of art that goes with the film -- a companion piece. But that's as far as we're going in the sense of sidelines or sequels."

Kent says she's intent on making further films in Australia for the time being.

Trevor said...

Oh, but she lies. She already wrote and direct a "sequel" to The Babadook. It's on youtube...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr5A3UTD2h4

JPX said...

Haha, awesome, Trevor!