The Babadook (2014)

“The Babadook” is a 2014 Australian psychological thriller. It stars Essie Davis as Amelia and Noah Wiseman as Samuel. It was written and directed by Jennifer Kent.

Amelia is a single mother coping with the violent death of her husband on the night of her son Samuel’s birth. Samuel, now seven years old, begins to show behavioral problems and has trouble sleeping at night. One night, Amelia finds a mysterious book which her son wants to read. It tells of a creature named “Mr. Babadook” who, once a person is made aware of it, torments them forever. Soon after reading the book, strange things begin happening to Amelia and her son.

In a sense, the Babadook monster could have been created to represent the often unconscious darkness that exists inside a person. After losing her husband, Amelia was already somewhat unstable. She was a single mother struggling to raise her troubled young son while still trying to have her own life. The book may have been considered a trigger to bring her darker side to the surface. She began having violent outbursts and verbally abusing Samuel. The Babadook could have been a name for that state of mind. A line spoken in the movie says “You can’t get rid of the Babadook”, which may be interpreted as saying that the darkness will always be there within a person. It can’t be completely destroyed.

Considering this film was completed with a relatively modest budget of $2 million, I would say that it did pretty well for itself, with a final box office total of $4.5 million. What’s also impressive is the special effects of the film. There was no computer imagery. It was mainly stop-action, a primitive method by today’s standards. In fact, the Babadook creature itself was a product of stop-action effects.

To wrap, The Babadook is a rather underrated movie about the darkness within ourselves. It is a great film and highly recommended!

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