The Babadook succeeds on every level in my opinion. That includes very excellent directing and cinematography, fantastic editing, and an outstanding, performance from Essie Davis. Also, it’s actually A GOOD HORROR MOVIE!!!! Why can’t more scary films be like this.
A woman killing her child, the father getting killed during his son’s birth, a child that is mental and turns too be aggressive even towards his mom, the child trying to kill his own mom.. This is horror, this is the definition of being on your edge of your seat waiting for something to happen.
The Babadook isn’t for the mainstream crowd. If you’re looking for jump scares and scary monsters you wont find any here. The Babadook is a movie that taps into the basal emotion of fear. It portrays the truly terrifying things in life – grief, loneliness, and despair. Not things that freak you out but things that make you unsettled, disturbed, and human.
THE BABADOOK MOVIE EXPLAINED (SPOILERS)
The Babadook, in my opinion, is an actual, physical monster that feeds on the negative emotions of its victims (grief, fear, frustration, and so on). Its existence depends entirely on its victims, much like a parasite. If the victim denies the Babadook and continues to exude these dark feelings, the Babadook will cling to this source of nourishment and constantly try to push the victim to their limit (causing them to spiral into madness and provide him with more energy).
Yet once the victim accepts his/her fear, he/she is able to control it and thus reduce the Babadook to little more than a moving shadow. But you can’t ever completely get rid of your demons, which is why the Babadook remains tethered to its would-be victim…who ends up becoming its jailer.
Amelia, on the other hand, is a stressed-out single mother who is clearly at the end of her rope. Not only does her husband’s death still haunt her, but she also has to deal with her unstable son. Even though he clearly shows disturbing behaviour and everybody brings it up, Amelia denies it and convinces herself that the boy will grow out of it. But she still slips into frustration (“Why can’t you just be normal?”), which is completely understandable.
And I think that her feelings towards Sam are conflicted. On one hand, she loves him dearly, does her best to raise and protect him, and does her best to be patient. But on the other hand, as her sister mentions, she ‘can’t stand being around him’ due to his behaviour and what it means, which she is trying to block out. I also think that, in part, she blames him for her husband’s death and he is an eternal reminder of what happened that night.
The Babadook begins to bring these resentments (not just towards Sam, but others) out, digging them out from where she’s hidden them. It causes her to lose control not only over her emotions, but her sanity. She is even tempted to get her husband back…until she hears what she has to give up. Amelia finally realizes what truly matters and reasserts control over herself, her emotions, and, ultimately, the Babadook.
I also saw a peculiar role-reversal in the film. In the beginning, I was with Amelia all the way and wanted to strangle Sam. But as the Babadook strengthens its hold on Amelia, and her behavior grows increasingly erratic, we see a change in Sam. Underneath his spoiled and disobedient demeanor, he truly loves his mother and wants her back. Even when she is strangling him, he caresses her face, giving her the strength to fight against the Babadook’s hold.