I just watch The Babadook recently, an Australian horror movie which, in my opinion, one of the best horror movie of recent era (modern horror movies relies heavily in the cheap jump-scare, sound effect and scary creature). To sum it, I love this movie! No cheap-jump-scare, pure horror or to be exact, psychological thrill. True some said this is creature horror genre, but what lies deeper than what it seems.
It’s been a while since horror movie haunted me, long after I saw the movie (the last time I felt this is when I watch Rosemary’s Baby and The Shining or Japanese Masterpiece such as Ringu), true that Gravity or Interstellar also haunts me with many thought but this is horror movie we’re talking about, a genre that being taken for granted, movie that you watch just for mindless fun, just to pass the time.
True that the ending is confusing, this movie is full with symbolic and subliminal messages (or I’m just over-thinking it) and honestly I prefer the movie to be more dark (especially the ending) and honestly the movie is not that scary (by today’s standard cheap jump-scare movie) and the pace kinda slow. What make this movie shines are the plot, the silent (like Japanese horror), and the actor/actress performance. Just give it a chance and maybe this is your type of movie.
Plot summary (may contain spoilers, I hope you already watch this very good movie): young widow with one son try to cope with life. Her son is behaving strangely, claiming to saw a monster that tries to harm her (even her son makes weapons such as bow-gun and catapult) and finally the monster can’t get rid of. Simple as that but it’s the simplicity of it covering something that really intriguing me.
So, as her Son always said, there’s a monster called Babadook, Boogeyman type monster that lurking in their house that wants to enter her body and rips her apart from within. If you ask me, it’s a symbolic of the negative feeling she has (loneliness of not having someone special that depicted when she try to masturbate but her son interrupting her of the appearance of Babadook, desperation of how everyone seems to leave her alone with her life minding their own business, grievance of losing her husband in an accident, glimmer of grudge toward her son knowing that her husband lost his life while driving her to the hospital to give birth to her son, etc). All of this negative feeling consume her from within just like the monster her son see, or maybe her son (or any other people with “gift”) see the negative feeling as demon/devil try to lead us into madness.
The Babadook could be a fabric of the mother subconscious mind, the manifestation of the monster deep within each and every one of us. The name Babadook came from a book that told a story of a monster called Babadook that entering people and rips them apart but it’s just that. The book is unfinished (the mother hides the book but the book kept coming back to reachable place until she rip and torn the book apart). As time goes by and the mother negativity grew strong, the book suddenly came back, reattached and have a new story where the mother killed the dog (the dog neck is snapped) and then she killed her son. Interesting part is then her mother burned the book and the book never came back, but when she reported this act of terror, police noticed that her hand is black (assumption is whether it’s the residue when she burn the book or…it’s the residue when she draw the book herself). Either you realize it or not, sometimes our conscious have a mind of its own, like when you do something anyway knowing that the thing you do is wrong you will feel guilty. That conscious sometimes is twisted and told us to do negative things.
The appearances of Babadook in the movie also fishy. As if every time the mother is on the most depressed state or fatigue (like I mention earlier, her negativity is consuming her, even she have insomnia since her son is behaving strangely then she decided to put sedative to her son). If you like horror movie, you’ll notice the pattern where the devil can possessed someone with weak mental and in this case, her fatigue & mental state makes her see things (whether it’s the monster himself or just her imagination).
The best part of the movie is the process of seeing the mother progressed from weak women into psychotic state of possessed women. It makes me wonder if the Babadook really possessing her (like what the mother saw on her dream) or it’s all just her mind went twisted. The mother living in a state of denial, she deny her grieve toward the death of her husband (always said that she already move on but she always avoiding the topic of her husband), she deny that she have problem, deny the fact that she needs help (or probably people around her just avoiding her, minding their own business like people used to do). Everything lead her into snapped and in the spur of moment she went berserker barrage and killed her dog and chasing her son (just like what happen to the girl in Korean masterpiece Bedevilled, the women snaps and unleash her demon)
The ending is, if you ask me, the weakest part, I wish it would be darker (like the mother killed her son and The Babadook spread his terror to other house. But no, after the son manage to “neutralize” the mother, the mother gain her conscious and fight the Babadook but the punch-line is when her son said “You can’t rid of the Babadook”, also when the Babadook somehow fleeting into the basement (place where the mother always avoid because it contains her husband belonging). The movie ended with They live happily ever after (with the son have a strangely amazing skills of magic) and the mother visit the basement and feed the Babadook worms. So, is the Babadook turned into their pets? If you ask me this is symbolic, the basement is an analogy of deep dark secret that we hides from others (in this case, the mother and son little dark secret), the part where the mother feed the Babadook is an analogy of she finally accepting the fact that she needs help or outlet to unleash her negativity, to accept that the past can’t be denied or forgotten. We just have to accept it, embrace it. The worms? I don’t know, maybe an analogy of her dead husband.
Damn, this movie really haunts me. This movie somehow taught me that it’s not healthy to deny the negativity, you need to share it, to unleash it (probably that’s why I wrote blog). All that negativity is like a time bomb, a vessel that will be leak or broken once the vessel can’t contain what’s inside. And what intriguing me the most, is that movie shows the monster the mother became, the monster within us. You can’t deny we have that negativity, to deny it will do us no good. We have to accept it, embrace it and hopefully the monster we have become is not really a monster, but a manifestation of who we are and it’s acceptable he he.