By Jacob Darling
This week I decided to do something a little different for my review. Rather than go out and see a new movie I chose to stay inside, curl up on the couch with my lady and watch a scary movie on Netflix. The movie we choose was “The Babadook,” a 2014 Australian horror film by first-time director Jennifer Kent. The movie tells the story of Amelia Vanek, a single mother struggling to cope with the loss of her husband, Oskar, who died on the day their son Samuel was born. While driving his wife to the hospital, Oskar’s car was struck in a deadly collision that left Amelia alone to raise Sam. The movie starts just days before Samuel’s seventh birthday, and Amelia is still struggling to cope with the memory of that traumatic event.
Things are made even worse when Samuel asks her to read him a bedtime story from a mysterious book that he has found. The book, titled “Mister Babadook,” is filled with disturbing pop-up pictures of the titular Babadook, a pale, human-like creature with a top hat and long claws. The book describes how the Babadook torments its victims once they become aware of him until they inevitably “let him in.”
This movie, for me, more than a horror flick was a story about perseverance. Amelia Vanek’s struggle to raise her son while trying to cope with trauma and loss is a very human and relatable one. Sleeplessness becomes a common theme in her life as she tries to comfort Samuel’s fear of Mister Babadook. Eventually she is forced to confront the creature, and I liked the way this part of the story was handled. You can almost interpret the Babadook as a manifestation of everyone’s worst version of themself. The ending can also been seen as a lesson that we all have an inner Babadook that can bring out the worst in us if we don’t learn to confront it and keep it under control.
Categories: Arts & Culture