Directed by Australian director Jennifer Kent, the film is about a widowed mother who is torn because of the death of his husband. It is this despair and grieving that a creature comes in to attack the mother, as well as her six-year-old son.
Grief, it is a powerful response for someone who has experienced death for a person or something else. This of course can lead to the five stages of it. The stages of this include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. This emotional response can be very unhealthy especially for a person who feels that nothing bad at all happened in their lives. To which this aspect was the film’s greatest thing, the theme having to do with grief and denial. The idea of having the monster, The Babadook, represent the mother’s state of mind was really good. The stages of grief are represented, for the most part, pretty well and it was good to see the mother redeem herself in the end.
“You can’t get rid of the Babadook.” This perfectly sums up grief, as it is something that a person must live with even if they don’t appreciate it fully. It is an emotion that a person needs to outgrow and overcome it, but at the same time, not forgetting it. This is really showcased in the end where the mother and son keep the monster in the basement, where they keep it locked up never to hurt anyone ever again. While at the same time feeding it worms.
Now onto talking about the rest of the movie. The acting was very good, especially for the mother. She totally sells her scenes, in particular, the ones where she is completely losing her mind due to the monster getting to her. The son was pretty good; even though he was pretty annoying in the beginning and he does tend to overact in parts where he himself is losing his mind.
I really love the look of the house that the two are living in. The grayscale and depressing look of it truly stays true to the “Mister Babadook” book, to which the monster is from, I believe. One thing though I wish would have changed about it had the house be brighter and show a little color. I think it would at least show the family overcoming their fears that have plagued them over the years. At the same time, keep the basement the same style for that’s of course where the monster resides in.
The pacing of the movie seemed off to me. I’m not entirely sure what about it seemed off, but it seemed like the film was going a little fast and a little slow at times. There are times where we are introduced to certain characters outside of the family, but they don’t really add anything to the overall story. You could have easily written them out or rewrite their identity and it wouldn’t have changed much.
In terms of the monster itself, I like the look of it and the children book style. The book has a dream-like atmosphere to it, to which there are certain parts where the house draws on those moods. I do wish that the monster looked more like the design from the book. Nothing wrong with it when it comes out in real life but it is a little goofy looking. I like it when it moves like a bug scurrying on the ceiling and saying its own name in a creepy fashion. l really love how the creature effects are not CGI, but rather it’s all practical. It makes the experience for whenever you see it more powerful. Though it does become really cheap and lazy when it creates stock dinosaur noises.
I suppose the biggest complaint I have with the movie is one plot point, which is why the family bought the “Mister Babadook” book in the first place. The mother never saw it before but clearly, she should know what it is since she bought it herself. It doesn’t make at all sense for why she would buy this book and think it would be appropriate for reading it to a six-year-old. So in essence, she pretty much doomed herself for bringing this monster to her house.
As talked about earlier, the mothers acting was great. But she does overact at times, much like her son. Specifically, the end where she is yelling at the monster to leave her and her son alone. On top of this, the bedroom starts cracking and falling apart from the monster getting violently angry. That’s where I wish things would have tone down and not have it become it so chaotically or over the top. It reminded me of the craziness that happened at the end of “The Conjuring 2.”
The was a movie that I thought was amazing the first time watching, I would have given it a 5/5. But upon second viewing, it sadly doesn’t hold up. But that’s not to say this is terrible, far from it. This is a film that I highly recommend still and the symbolism is the best thing about it. This is a movie that will definitely unnerve you.