Welcome Scribbler Horror fans! Old Man Feind decided to give one a try that has gotten a lot of buzz. Is it worth your time or one overrated hunk of horror celluloid garbage? Time to dive into the realm of a monster with…
So I’ve been seeing this new horror flick pop up again and again through the horror community seeming to have everyone all abuzz. My taste tends to be different than the norm so when I see something getting a lot of buzz its usually something to avoid. Plus the name didn’t exactly inspire any horrific images or thoughts in my head. I mean “The Babadook”? WTF is a “babadook”? was all I could think. It sounds like some renegade Care Bear or something, Babadook Bear, he’ll getcha! I couldn’t have been more wrong, off the mark, whatever the fuck you wanna call it. Not to sell the farm too early here but The Babadook, no lie, is one of the best, original horror movies I’ve seen in recent years. I can’t remember the last time a movie actually scared me and this one didn’t either but it’ll definitely give you the creeps. So let’s take a little closer look at it...
The Babadook single handedly breaks two myths out there. One, it was partially funded through Kickstarter so for those that think nothing good can come from crowdfunded projects is proven wrong (also look at Obituary’s new album Inked In Blood for another fine example). But more importantly it proves the sexist assholes out there who think that women can’t make a good movie, especially a horror movie, wrong with a huge middle finger wagged in their sexist faces. In so doing it also gives us not only a really great story but one told from a female perspective by a female in a way no man could ever hope to do so well. It also does so without being “girly” in any way. The Babadook is a dark, gritty, realistic tale that should have horror fans excited that we have another new voice on the scene doing things different. I would put Jennifer Kent on par with my other fresh face in horror Ivan Kavanaugh (Tin Can Man, The Canal), she’s that damn good. Now onto the film itself.
On the surface The Babadook shows the difficulty of being a single mom with a somewhat troubled child. Amelia (brilliantly portrayed by Essie Davis) is a widow whose husband died in a car accident trying to get her to the hospital when she went into labor. A widow and now unexpected single mom, Amelia has enough to deal with but then her son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), is also starting to act out. He isn’t necessarily the worst kid in the world but is a bit of a hyper child giving his mother no breaks whatsoever. All of that stress isn’t enough though as Amelia also works in a home for dementia patients and has a sister who is hyper-critical and basically a bitch. Nothing Amelia does seems to be right in her sisters eyes so when Sam starts acting out her bitchy sister is right there to tell her how poor of a job she’s doing as a mother. I think a lot of people out there can easily relate to that.
After getting called into school to pick up Sam because he had brought a homemade dart gun to school (Sam fancies himself a monster hunter) things begin going downhill as if she needed any more issues. Suddenly a book shows up called The Babadook. It’s actually a really cool pop-up book but as Amelia reads it to Sam it gets darker and darker foreshadowing all that is to come as The Babadook seems to be a very real monster intent on killing them both.
The Babadook is as much a gritty psychological thriller as it is a horror movie. We watch as Amelia slowly loses her mind as The Babadook seems to grow stronger and stronger. Amelia is also coping with an extreme lack of sleep as Sam’s fits and nightmares keep her up night after night until she looks about as frazzled on the outside as she is on the inside. She begins having thoughts of killing her son which only seems to feed The Babadook who is urging her to do it. No matter what she does she can’t seem to get rid of the book, first hiding it then burning it but it just comes back terrifying her further as it shows her what it is going to make her do. Amelia starts to hallucinate and lose touch with reality as The Babadook seems to take more and more control over her.
The story itself is creepy and scary showing the struggles of being a single mom with the addition of a troubled child on top of it. This is something millions of parents can relate to with the growing number of autistic children as well as other maladies like ADHD which is so over diagnosed it’s pathetic but that’s a different discussion. All of that on it’s own is a great story when you add in the creeping evil of The Babadook. The Babadook is also playing the part of awesome metaphor if you know a little psychology. There is a psychology theory (you can look it up for yourself) of the “shadow self” which is being played out in the film. The “shadow self” or “shadow aspect” is said to be the embodiment of all our negativity, all our guilt, self doubt, grief and so on. Everyone has a shadow self and in this movie The Babadook is the personification of Amelia’s shadow self. She is overwhelmed with the grief of losing her husband and the guilt of not being a good mother. Until she confronts it, as we are supposed to confront and merge with our shadow self, it will forever haunt her and attempt to drive her insane. No matter what your thoughts are on the “shadow self” The Babadook does an amazing job of acting out that metaphor. It also helps you understand the ending which is understandably confusing to some people. If you understand that the “shadow self” is a part of all of us and failing to recognize it and deal with our grief and pain allows it to grow and take over then the ending of The Babadook will make more sense.
I’ll wrap this up since you already know the verdict. Look out horror world ‘cause there’s a new gunslinger in town and her name is Jennifer Kent. Write it down and make a note of it because if she makes more films you should definitely check them out. Wow, a horror movie minus a group of sex starved teenagers, how could that be any good? The Babadook may not appease the gorehounds but as a horror movie, it’s top notch. If you’re disappointed in this one then we definitely don’t have the same taste because sorry to tell you, you have none if you don’t like this one. I’ll be on the look out for anything Kent does in the future just like I am for the aforementioned Mr. Kavanaugh. These are two horror directors giving you excellent films that stay the hell away from the damn “horror formula” that is so boring it makes you wanna pluck out your own damn eyeballs! We need more movie makers like this damn it! As you can tell The Scribbler Clock Test was passed and The Babadook is 110%...
Have you witnessed The Babadook yet Scribbler fans? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.
Scribbler Movie Reviews
Feind loves watching movies of all kinds so if we watch it, we tell whether you should as well. I'll share mostly horror but I also enjoy everything from big Blockbusters to micro-budget Independent films.
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