B-Movie Corner: ‘The Babadook’ haunts more than dreams

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First Posted: 2/18/2015

Australia is not very well known for producing a wide array of great horror films, but when they do, they do it right and produce some true classics. “The Babadook” most certainly falls in the true classic category.

The film was released in 2014 and received much critical acclaim in the films home country and throughout the world. It received a very limited theater release in the U.S., but those who viewed the film instantly fell in love and hailed it as a modern day classic in the horror film genre.

The steady positive press and limited availability of the film have made it into a modern day cult classic that will surely develop in years to come.

The film follows single mother, Amelia, and her son, Samuel. Amelia is struggling with the untimely passing of her husband and Sam develops erratic behavioral issues and struggles to sleep every night. Sam also has an unhealthy obsession with monsters and trying to build weapons to kill them. Amelia is eventually forced to withdraw her son with school due to the escalating problems.

One night, Sam asks his mother to read from a mysterious pop-up storybook he finds on his shelf. The story, “Mister Babadook,” is about a supernatural creature that upon making its existence known to a person will torment that person indefinitely. Amelia is disturbed by the book’s contents, while a traumatized Sam becomes convinced that the Babadook is stalking them in their home.

Strange events begin occurring throughout the house: doors open and close on their own, Amelia finds glass in her food, and strange sounds are heard with no apparent source. Amelia attributes the events to Sam’s behavior, but he insists that the Babadook is responsible. Amelia eventually rips up the “Mister Babadook” book and disposes of it in the garbage.

Mysteriously though the book comes back fully intact with new pages of the story. The strange occurrences begin to pick up with more frequency and grow even more disturbing.

“The Babadook” is a film that can be examined on many levels. As a straight horror/ thriller it is very effective without having to rely on jump scares. Instead this is a film that gets inside your mind and plays with many of the fears that we all have as humans.

The film is a study about the bond between mother and child and some of the fears that mothers have toward their children. Also the issue of not letting go is deeply embedded in this film.

“The Babadook” is simply a must see film and one that you will not soon forget. It is both terrifying and thought provoking. It is also fairly family friendly with not much violence, but may be a bit too scary for very young children. Just remember though that you can’t get rid of … the Babadook.

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