Skip to main content

The Babadook

Spoilers and typos! Enjoy.

We often look back nostalgically on childhood, envious of the joy we felt and the boundless imaginations we possessed. How conveniently we forget the other side of that coin: as children, we experience a depth of terror our adult selves continually try to recreate for cathartic entertainment.

When we try to bring those childhood fears to life on the screen, we often end up with movies about "things that go bump in the night," which is a somewhat superficial approach. While it does provide an opportunity for a supernatural experience, it ignores the root of our fear: the unknown. As children, we lack life experience. We lack nuance. We lack understanding. Not knowing creates in us fear. Yes, we fear what lurks in the darkness but we also fear the adult world because we do not understand how it works. The Babadook works to exploit both those fears.

The short story: a widowed mother of a young boy experiences a mental breakdown and tries to murder her child. The slightly longer story is that the frightening experience of losing control is here represented as "possession by a storybook character."

I've been sitting on this post for a while now because even though I was motivated by "good buzz" to watch The Babadook,  I wasn't feeling particularly inspired to write about it after finally seeing it. When it crashed onto the scene a few years back, it felt like everyone and their mother was talking about it. Rarely do I succumb to the hype surrounding a movie; too high expectations often lead to nothing but disappointment — and being the jaded movie watcher that I am, disappointment comes all too easily for me.

While there is something compellingly uncomfortable about The Babadook — and you all know how I love movies that are uncomfortable to watch (Possession!) — it certainly wasn't the mind-blowing experience for me that everyone claimed it would be. The underlying story — that there is capacity for violence and evil within all of us that we must choose to control — is a tale as old as time (as they say) and is well articulated here, but it somehow didn't come together for me in an enjoyable way. In fact, when people ask me about the movie I typically say, "it was an hour and a half of of Essie Davis screaming." That's what I remember most about it. And don't get me wrong: I LOVE Essie Davis — probably because I can't get enough of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries — but I just didn't love listening to her shrieking for over an hour.

If you're looking for something more meaningful that another installment of Paranormal Activity or something less Hollywood-y than The Boy, check out The Babadook. Just remember that I warned you: be prepared for an hour of shrieking.

You can watch the (really fantastic) Babadook trailer here:


And you can buy yourself a copy of The Babadook here:

Popular posts from this blog

Rebuttal: 17 Disturbing Horror Movies You Will Never Watch Again

When I'm not watching movies, I'm reading about movies. I stumble across all kinds of articles, blog posts, book excerpts, etc. in my quest to absorb as much movie knowledge as possible.

Now, I'm snotty and loud-mouthed and opinionated but I'd never begrudge another human their opinion. Seriously. You're absolutely welcome to have any opinion about any thing you want. However, I must warn you, if I think your opinion is stupid, I'm absolutely going to say so.

I've recently stumbled on an article completely brimming with so many idiotic opinions that I'm actually compelled to craft a response.

Here's the gist of the original article: there are some horror movies out there that are so disturbing, you'll only ever want to watch them once. I've have taken her original list and refuted her claims without pulling her entire article over. You can read the original article here.

Let's start at the beginning, with her opening statement:
"Hor…

Midnight Matinee (1989)

Originally created for a Canadian cable channel, Midnight Matinee is every ounce as terrible as a made-for-tv-movie could be.

It's like every bit of this movie was stolen from other movies in the 80's. If it were a better movie with wittier writing, I'd think it was supposed to be a satire. Turns out though, it's just a bad rip-off. That turned into a great rip-off (Popcorn, one of my very favorite underrated horror flicks).

The Plot In A Nutshell:
A horror movie festival ends in an actual murder. 2 years later, the wild youth of the town wants to - get this - have another festival. SHOCKING!

Where They Stole It From:
If you think you've heard this story before that's because it's basically the plot for My Bloody Valentine (1981), both of which were made in Canada. Coincidence?... I think not.

Or perhaps you're a big fan of Italian horror and have seen Demons a few times where the things playing out in the movie the characters are watching start happenin…

But The Flesh Is Weak: Cronenberg's Body Horrors

Body horror; something that effects each one of us as we are made of squishy, fallible, and finite flesh. Tackled many times in many ways throughout the years, body horror will stick with us until we finally learn to lose these weak, human bodies and begin existing in some other form.

There are many lenses through which to view body horror, lets talk about a few quickly before talking about some specific films in this genre.


Science and Technology
We depend on technology, especially in regards to our flimsy, fleshy bodies. Hip replacements, new hearts, brain surgery, iron lungs, cheek implants, etc. We have limited abilities and a limited lifespan, so we lean on technology to increase both. But what happens when we take that melding of mechanical and organic too far? Horror and scifi have taught us that going too far can lead to frighteningly devastating consequences and monstrous creations. (SpeciesRobocopFrankenstein, etc.)


Gender
Much of body horror is related to or revolves arou…