I wouldn’t say that I wasted my time with this film, and props that it has a female director, and the lead, while unknown, had some great acting chops, but I like my psychological thrillers shallow. What you get with the babadook is a metaphorical piece about the negative forces inside us all, and how they manifest, and all I basically wanted was a nice surface level story about the creepy yet dapper boogeyman with the top hat and was content just to leave it at that. Anyway, on to the summary.
Amelia is a stressed out widowed single mother to 6-year-old Sam. Sam’s Dad died in a car accident driving Amelia to the hospital when she was giving birth, and 6 years later she hasn’t really gotten over it. Sam also has some behavioral issues and is obsessed with the idea of monsters under the bed. At first you can’t really tell if Sam is misbehaving because of her enabling his bad behavior (he brought a monster fighting weapon to school and almost shot a kid’s eye out, and she didn’t have very much to say about this other than blaming the school) or if he’s just fucked up. Then you see it’s probably a combination of both. However, later on in the film when Amelia becomes possessed by the evil force and yells at Sam to go eat shit when he nicely says that he’s hungry and couldn’t find any food in the house and that he needs some for his medication, I couldn’t help but think, “hey, maybe if you’d been a bit more direct from the get go, the kid would have fallen in line” spare the rod, spoil the child you know.
Anyway, Sam goes on alienating people with his imaginary monster obsession and waking Amelia up every night, including one scene while she was trying to masturbate. Although her vibrator looked like a tweeze so maybe the kid was doing her a favor.
.One night, after having to check his room for monsters for the umpteenth time, she tells him that he can choose his bedtime story that night. He goes and pulls out a handmade looking book called “Mister Babadook” She asks where he got it, and he says that it just appeared on the shelf. So she starts reading. At first it just seems like kind of a weird rhyming book about an odd imaginary friend, but then obviously takes a dark turn about not letting said friend in cause then he’ll take over and hides in your closet. At this point, given the kid has already got a few issues, when did she think would be a good time to stop reading?
Was it here?
Or maybe here
I don’t even have a closet and there’s no way I’d read that shit before I went to sleep.
Amelia confiscates the book and hides it in her room. After that Sam starts becoming even stranger and his behavior starts escalating. He has a temper tantrum when Amelia says he can’t make weapons anymore and yells at her, “Do you want to die???” he also has some sort of rage seizure in the car and she takes him to the hospital where the doctor says that most of the tests were normal, but it could be some issue with his brain overheating. Amelia also gets a phone call from a creepy voice that just says “Baba dook dook dook” over and over and to me that was the scariest part of the film, which I thought was unfortunate. At this point it’s clear that the Babadook has taken over Sam and the book keeps appearing in places, but this time there are more pages that were previously blank that have been filled in with pictures of Amelia murdering Sam. For some reason that is unexplained, or maybe I just wasn’t interested enough to figure out, the Babadook then goes from Sam into Amelia. She basically starts becoming really mean to him, which gets him to calm the fuck down and start behaving a bit better, so yeah, the whole trying to murder him thing is a bit over the top, but maybe she can learn from this. Sam is smart enough to figure out that she’s been possessed so he uses his monster traps on her and knocks her out long enough for him to tie her up in the basement. She gets free and tries to strangle him to death, but for some other reason that I guess was too deep for me to figure out, through Sam’s love and the neighbor being nice to her in a previous scene, she’s able to expel the Babadook from herself in a pile of black vomit.
From then on everything is really great between them. Although they collect worms to offer the invisible Babadook that now lives in the basement and seems pretty aggressive still. Again, this is never explained, so I had to google it, and that’s where I learned I just wasn’t intellectual enough to piece together that it stands for both of their issues that they are now trying to harness and keep in the basement.
All in all, entertaining enough if you have a free hour and a half, but don’t pay for it.