tek's rating:

The Babadook (not rated)
Causeway Films; IFC Films; IMDb; official site; Rotten Tomatoes; Scream Factory; Screen Australia; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
review sites: Black List; Bloody Disgusting; Dread Central (Blu-ray/DVD); Kindertrauma
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; Hulu; Vudu; YouTube

This came out in 2014, but I didn't see it until 2022. While I was watching it, I found at least the first half to be kind of "meh", but I ended up liking it at least a bit. The movie has a supernatural element, but I decided to classify it as psychological horror, which is the main style of the film, I think. And it works well on that level.

There's a woman named Amelia, who is raising a six-year-old son named Samuel, who has behavioral issues. Samuel's father died in a car crash the day he was born, almost seven years ago. And most of the movie takes place in the weeks leading up to Sam's birthday, also the anniversary of his father's death. This time of year triggers very difficult emotions for Amelia, and she's been having nightmares and generally not getting much sleep. It doesn't help matters that Samuel is constantly acting quite badly. And one night, he chooses a book for his mother to read him, called "Mister Babadook". They have no idea where the book came from, it just appeared on the bookshelf, I guess. And it's a very creepy story, which terrifies Samuel, and exacerbates his bad behavior. She takes him out of school, and it soon seems like she's in danger of losing him to social services.

Somewhere around the halfway mark in the movie, it seems to me like Amelia and Samuel's roles get reversed. She becomes increasingly erratic due to sleep deprivation, and starts seeming kind of scary. That gets much worse when she is possessed by the Babadook. And I feel like Samuel wasn't so misbehaved at that point. Instead, he just wants to protect his mother. So, I feel like the first half of the movie's scariness is from Amelia's perspective, dealing with her grief over the loss of her husband and the potential loss of her son, among other things, while the latter half is more from the perspective of Samuel, a small boy who has to fear not only a monster but his own mother. In the end... well, I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say the movie has a rather unique resolution to the monster problem, which I liked. And I guess I don't know what else to say.

psychological horror index