Movie Review – The Babadook

I’m incredibly late on seeing this movie as it came out a couple years ago, but I’ve been meaning to watch it for some time and, after seeing that quite a few people I knew had been watching it for the first time, I decided to finally watch it as well.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into it, as I didn’t look into the plot too much and pretty much only knew stuff from seeing trailers.  I will say though that I wasn’t expecting what I got.  I’m still deciding whether that’s a good thing or not.

baba2

So many people I saw who were watching this movie were terrified and told me to definitely not watch it in the dark.  So what did I do? I waited until midnight and turned off all the lights to watch it hoping to be scared.  Now I don’t really get scared all that easily, so I wasn’t expecting to be frightened.  Was I?  Nah.  That was mildly disappointing to me, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad film by any means.

I think what I liked most about the film is the way it was presented.  There were a lot of parts where music was building up, usually when one of the characters was being sucked into their own mind and not focusing on the world around them, but the music would stop suddenly when they snap back to reality, which I really liked.  There’s also a skewed sense of time in this movie.  The characters for the most part only stay in one place, venturing outside of the house on occasion but never focusing on those outside locations long.  You’re not really sure how much time is supposed to have passed when you’re in the house and it makes it feel that much more like a nightmare.  Plus the house itself felt to me like it was very small and narrow and gave me a sense of claustrophobia, which again helped make it feel like a nightmare.

So what, exactly, is this movie about?  From the start it seemed to be about a single mother raising a son who had some sort of mental disability of some sort.  He did terribly in school – to the point of being pulled out for two weeks – he was constantly screaming for attention (and I do mean screaming), and he often fought with other kids.  Granted the one time he broke his cousin’s nose is because she was saying horrible things to him, but still.  So being a single parent to a child this out of control is bound to take a toll on you, right?  Well, it takes a sharp turn when the son stops seeming to be the one with mental issues and it transfers over to the mother, who begins to have somewhat of a psychotic break.

From the beginning of the movie, we’re told the son has an obsession with monsters (or a monster) being in the house and he doesn’t sleep so well and just wants to protect his mother – going so far as to make weapons and booby traps.  We’re also told that his father was killed just before he was born, right on the way to the hospital so he could be born.  Because of this his mother doesn’t like celebrating his birthday on his actual birthday because it was the same day her husband died.  At first this didn’t seem to be that big a deal to her, just the normal sort of grief you’d associate with such a tragedy.  But as the movie goes on we see just how big a deal it is to her and it lends to her psychotic breakdown.

She doesn’t truly break down until after she’s read her son a book he found on his shelf called The Babadook.  It’s about a terrible monster, and once she’s read it, it seems to have escaped and is now lurking in the house, or in their minds, or possibly both.  The creepiest scene in the movie was when she was lying in bed and saw the door open on its own only to see some sort of creature scurry onto the ceiling.  She hid under the covers hoping it would go away and it felt so much like a nightmare in that moment.

So to be perfectly honest I’m not entirely sure what I thought of this film.  It was definitely well made and incredibly creepy, but from a story aspect I was rather unclear on some things.  The ending for one, but I won’t spoil that.  It felt like it was both psychological and physical at the same time and I’m not sure how to feel about that.  Of course there’s something to be said for the fear of the unknown and I do love movies that don’t give you all the answers, but this one to me felt like it could’ve used some more.

Perhaps if I watched it multiple times I’d form a more solid opinion of it, but these are my thoughts upon first viewing.  I would recommend it to anyone who’s interested in checking it out and anyone who likes horror as it is one of the better made horror movies I’ve seen in quite some time.  Give it a watch and find out for yourself what you think of it.

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