Amelia, who lost her husband in a car crash on the way to give birth to Samuel, their only child, struggles to cope with her fate as a single mom. Samuel's constant fear of monsters and violent reaction to overcome the fear doesn't help her cause either, which makes her friends become distant. When things can not get any worse, they read a strange book in their house about the 'Babadook' monster that hides in the dark areas of their house. Even Amelia seems to feel the effect of Babadook and desperately tries in vain to destroy the book. The nightmarish experiences the two encounter form the rest of the story.Written by
When asked where the idea for The Babadook (2014) came from, director Jennifer Kent said, "I have a friend who's a single mother, whose son was traumatized by this monster figure that he thought he saw everywhere in the house. So I thought, 'What if this thing was real, on some level?' So I made Monster (2005) [a short film] about that idea. But I couldn't leave it alone. I kept coming back to it. And that led to The Babadook." See more »
When Amelia gets the ripped up book back and looks at the new pages, the last page says (Line 3): the more you deny the (Line 4): stronger I get. Yet when the camera pans over the words on the page, the second 'the' has been cut out from the end of line three and moved to the fourth line making it (Line 4): the stronger I get. See more »
While "The Babadook" may display some of the hallmarks of the traditional horror film, there's a lot more going on here than meets the eye. Far from the typical Hollywood bloodfest so brilliantly satired in "Cabin in the Woods," this film's characters are layered, its plot is mercurial, its actions are metaphorical, and its conclusions are ambiguous. All this is likely to disappoint those filmgoers who need to be spoonfed a formula. But if you're a film lover, Do. Not. Miss. This.
Director Jennifer Kent understands what most horror filmmakers fail to grasp: that our biggest fear isn't of crazy killers or monsters or ghosts, but of ourselves—what lives inside us, the emotions we have to live with, the illusory veil of self-control.
The plot revolves around a mum, her troubled son and the book he pulls off the shelf one night. But you already know too much. This is one film where knowing less going into it will really pay dividends. Really, don't even watch the trailer.
Just know that the storytelling and craft are flawless. Essie Davis delivers one of the most challenging performances put to screen with total commitment and credibility. Kent's storytelling is utterly absorbing and she so delicately treads the line between what's real and what's not that you can never be sure of yourself.
What you make of "The Babadook" will depend on who you are. You might take it at face value, as a creepy monster flick with all the constant threat and looming dread and shocking moments. You might take it as an attempt to capture the authentic experience of mental illness. You might take it as a symbolic story using a metaphor for grief and loss. The best films make you feel something and allow you the room to make sense of it yourself.
Personally, I thought about this film for days after seeing it, both because of its ambiguity and because of the themes it explores, namely mental illness and domestic violence. Yes, it's scary. But it's also touching and heartbreaking. While "The Babadook" belongs alongside other great psychological horror films, like "The Innocents" and "The Haunting" (1963), to classify it purely as "horror" really belittles its accomplishment as a film that challenges us to examine and discuss issues we are very uncomfortable tackling in reality.
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