The Babadook – Movie Review

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Chris Stuckmann reviews The Babadook, starring Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Tim Purcell. Directed by Jennifer Kent.

Comments

Alex Jerome says:

This really was a magnificent film. Especially when you look at it from a
metaphorical standpoint. It almost made it not a horror movie in a way.
No cheap scares, no easy way outs, no cliches. Real classical style of
horror. Very refreshing.

Asgard314 says:

It’s hard to describe, but I was horrified by The Babadook. It wasn’t
scary, but the problems and issues that the movie dealt with spoke to me.
I grew up with a single parent and the other parent that wasn’t around
recently committed suicide. It, um. It dealt with the feeling of grief,
of frustration and anger at a horrible situation getting shittier by the
minute in a meaningful and entertaining way. It’s a 10/10 movie, no doubt
about it.

xisumavoid says:

I liked this movie, You pointed out a lot of the strengths this movie has,
however for me my interest trailed of when the two became isolated in the
house. I think I’ve just seen too many horror movies… i prefer the build
up to the scare :-P

murat karakuş says:

Im sorry CHRIS STCKMAN BUT WTF? THIS MOVIE WAS A DISSAPOINTMENT A BIG TIME.
YOU GAVE THIS SHIT AN A AND I WATCHED THIS SHITTY MOVIE. I WASTED 2 HOURS
BECAUSE OF YOU. I M NOT SURE THAT YOU KNOW WHAT THE HORROR MEANS. THIS WAS
A SHITTY MOVIE. VERY VEEEEERY DISSAPOINTED. IF THIS MOVIE SCARED YOU YOU
ARE A PUSSY OK? ARE YOU KIDDING ME YOU GAVE THS AN A AND INTERSTELLAR B?
FUUUUUCK YOU 

Guru Zaheer says:

This is hands down the best horror movie of the decade! Unless you’re
looking for cheap jump scares or over-the-top CGI monsters…

Oscar Griffiths says:

I was terrified by The Woman in Black, scared shitless by Sinister,
petrified by The Conjuring… this movie did literally nothing to me, it
wasn’t scary in the slightest. The scariest parts where when you see The
Babadook’s face and that literally happened like twice and not when it
would be most effective, it was boring, the kid was fucking annoying, the
mum was annoying because she clearly didn’t know how to raise a child
properly, i was genuinely hoping they both died because they were even more
unrelatable than the wife and husband in Annabelle. I wont deny the actress
wasn’t good, she really was, she played the shitty parent character really
well, problem is with that fact i can’t relate or feel sorry for a shitty
parent when all this stuff is happening. Also there just isn’t really much
happening at all in the movie, The Babadook hardly does anything scare
worthy in the movie and the mum being a psycho and trying to kill and
fucking annoying little kid isn’t scary either. I honestly don’t know what
you saw in this movie, Chris. Usually I agree with your judgement 100% but
this time i just don’t understand how you thought this was scary

Lord Gremlin says:

This movie disappointed me for one reason: It used the tired “it’s all in
their head” cliche. It would almost be more original if it was just a
regular old monster. I hate the “it’s in their MIND” trope. It’s bullshit. 

KlingonCaptain says:

I really, really, really want to see The Babadook! If there is any hidden
meaning I will find it. I was the only person I know that realized the
movie Mama was about a fairy and not a ghost; seriously, fairy circles
appeared every time Mama showed up and she always had some sort of physical
interaction with the things around her, including the fact that she could
collect food for the little girls.

Matthew Moore says:

I don’t want to sound like a troll, but I just saw this movie, and I
honestly don’t get what all the hype is about. Reviews all over the
Internet are talking about how scary this movie is so I watched it.
Ummm….. No, just no. I could not disagree more. watched the whole thing
waiting for something scary to happen and it never did. And I had the
entire plot figured out in the first 20 mins. This movie was lame. Can
somebody explain to me why this movie is scary? Because I don’t get it. :/ 

Cassandra says:

this movie scared the shit out of me

Gabriel Quiles says:

SPOILER ALERT: As much as people didn’t like it: IT WAS SCARY! Not scary in
the whole “jump scare gore fest” kind of way, but in the relate kind. The
idea behind The Babadook (the monster itself) is scary if either A) You’re
a parent B) You have or had been suffering from depression and C) Had
suffered from a horrible incident or event that have made a negative impact
in your life.

A) The Babadook represent the hatred and the suffering the mother has been
going through since the day his husband died. While it’s not his fault, the
mother blames the child and hated his gut all through the movie with
rejection. His annoying actions is the result of how the mother treats him.
That is a scary thought to have, especially for a parent!

B) As stated by others, The Babadook represented Depression. When we go
through struggles in life, depression kicks of. I found this the most scary
because I can relate to this, I have also fought with my own demons and
monster because of struggles in my life. When you deny you have depression
it grows more and more, but when you accept it you learn to manage it. Sure
it won’t go away, but you know how to feed it, learn from it, adapt to it,
making life more simpler and enjoyable. That is the idea of The Babadook,
that monster on your mind you need to embrace and live with, without
letting it kill you.

C) I also came to the conclusion that it represent the idea of her
husband’s dead. In my opinion, when The Babadook showed who he really was
to the mother and the light flashed I immediately thought that he is the
fear of the car accident. His presence around the mother makes it difficult
to let go of her husband and keep moving forward from it.

To me, The Babadook is open to interpretation. It is a movie where it
doesn’t show you the monster because it WANTS you to think about it,
analyze it, mold it, embrace it and appreciate it for what it is. It is one
of the best psychological horror films I’ve ever seen and the best horror
film of the year. 

joao cunha says:

BABADOOK = A BAD BOOK ….did anybody else notice this anagram???

Tia L says:

I have to say, I think if you’re not someone that can delve deep into the
metaphors or someone who just isn’t into psychological..stuff, this movie
is not for you. At all.

*kind of spoilers* I just finished this movie about 15 minutes ago (i didnt
watch the trailer or read anything beforehand so i had no idea what to
expect) and what made me honestly “feel” the most emotions (other than the
dog part, in which i ripped my headphones off) was when the mother locked
all of the doors. I know it may have not been an extremely important part
but it gave me a heavy feeling of isolation.
I don’t think I could describe the movie as scary. Unsettling? Yes.
Definitely.
I don’t know what I loved so much about this movie. There were some
emotions that really got to me, that made me feel like I could relate to
them (I sound like a psychopath now, great). I’m not perfectly happy with
the ending, but I’m content. A bit weirded out..
ba.. ba-ba dook dook dook? i’m done i’m sorry.

Jack Keane says:

“THE BABADOOK” SPOILER WARNING:
I’m so happy you brought up the grief/depression angle of the film, as
well. I was talking to a friend of mine who’d also seen the film, and who
thought that the ending was shit, and I told her my take on the film – that
the Babadook was a real supernatural creature, but one that was a
manifestation (literally and metaphorically) of the mother’s grief over the
death of her husband; that she ultimately defeated the monster through
sheer force of will, and through not wanting it to harm her, or her son,
any more; that the monster – probably not coincidentally – hid itself in
the basement, where all of the mother’s husband’s belongings were stored,
and where her memory of him was kept out of sight, but never truly out of
mind; and that that ending – to me, anyway – seemed symbolic of the mother
having overcome and dealt with her immense grief, locking it away so that
it won’t effect her life as badly as it had before, and that it’ll always
be there, and she’ll have to face it every now and then, but at least she
can live her life happily again regardless of that.
And my friend was like: “Whoa, yeah, that makes total sense! I need to
start looking into things more, instead of being like: ‘Really? She feeds
it worms?!'”
Of course, I’m not at all suggesting that what I said is the correct way to
ultimately interpret the movie – everyone who watches it will probably view
it differently in one way or another.
(Still, I wish the two teenage boys in the row in front of me at the cinema
had stopped giggling for 5 fucking seconds so that THEY could see something
deeper about the film…)
=))

Jack says:

*******SPOILERS******

I haven’t read everything in here… BUT I take it as the Babadook is a
representation of her unhealthy way of dealing with grief. She tried to
suppress the grief of her husband’s death so hard. The Babadook book warned
her not to deny him, because he (that grief) is very real and will find a
way in. The repaired book with her killing the dog/her son shows what
happens if she lets the Babadook control her. When the boy was talking
about the Babadook, he was talking about her going crazy and losing it. I
assume he had seen this before because by the end of the movie, he had the
Home Alone type traps set up to tie her down. At the end when her son tells
her he still loves her even though she doesn’t love him (and I guess her
neighbor) she decides to take control. She takes control of the Babadook
rather than letting it control her. She refuses to let it ruin how she
interacts with her family and friends. She won’t let it consume her and
cause her to hurt those around her. The Babadook is relegated to the
basement with her husband’s possessions (basically a room of her past). She
recognizes that she can’t just ignore the grief, but she has to deal with
it. She feeds it in a healthy way that so that she doesn’t take her pain
out on others (the poor dog and her son). She sends her son to wait outside
while she goes downstairs until she says it’s okay to come back in. She
tells him one day he’ll get to see the Babadook when he understands (he’s
too young to really cope with his father’s death and understand it all I
guess).

This isn’t really a horror movie. There is so much more to it than that. It
relies more on brilliant storytelling than cheap scare tactics.

Aaron Boys says:

The best movie that you don’t want to see again lol

John Richards says:

*Spoilers You have been warned*

The Babadook had a lot of potential but I was disappointed with the ending.
Some link the movie to depression but at the end of the day depression is
basically oppression by the devil. There were some very good parts of the
movie and the build up was great. Basically we see a mother struggling to
get over the loss of her husband. We see the trials of her having to raise
a child by herself. We see that because her child is a little bit eccentric
she is excluded by society, family and friends. It is this climate that
gives the Babadook reason to invade the house and eventually her house (her
body). When the devil enters the mother the tension is great and we see
Satan desiring the life of her firstborn. Now when does a devil depart out
of a person because a loved one gives you a hug? Never. The only reason a
devil departs is because God comes on the scene. This movie could have had
a great scene of exorcism but it was replaced by the love of the son for
his mother. The movie ends with the mother having a pet devil inside the
house. Yes I am not kidding. Some would say this is a reference to feeding
the depression in her from time to time however the devil always seeks a
body to dwell in. My rating is 6/10. Wait for this one on dvd or free to
air tv.

Jnr

Pluto28 says:

When you say things like “Not *just* a monster movie” and “checking my
closet for the monster”… You have obviously missed the *entire* point of
the movie.
There is NO monster in this movie.
There are no demons or creatures or haunted books.

The entire point of the Babadook “monster” is a metaphor for pain, grief
and insanity. It is not intended to be scary. It is intended to show how
devastating loss can be.

But anyways, I agree that this movie is great.
And even though you enjoyed it, it’s too bad you missed the entire point.

KingKrally says:

Just got done watching this film. I have to say it was a great watch! It’s
nice to see a horror film that doesn’t rely on jump scares, gore, or CGI
and has great actors in it.
*Spoiler Alert*
The Babadook, I believe in the end, would never leave therefore when she
goes in the basement at the end and she feeds it, I feel that she just has
to live with it and control the problem. The entity feeds off of depression
rather than more of fear which I thought was really clever.

This actually mops the floor with a lot of modern day horror films. There
is no cheap scares, just psychological horror that really sticks with you
and takes a form of a monster.

I just finished this film at 1am and I cannot get the voice of Baba Dook
Dook Dook out of my head. That really says something because I haven’t been
able to sleep after a movie since Insidious. B+

Solarstar10 says:

This is such a great film. Such a shame that mainstream horror audiences
will most likely hate this, because it doesn’t use jump scares. It’s a
truly terrifying film that works more on a psychological level.

TheScorpio Vampyre says:

I hate this movie. After reading many reviews calling this “the best horror
film since The Exorcist,” I was excited to see it. I don’t like modern
horror movies, they are nothing but jump scares and gore. But, this movie
was very boring and slow. The little boy made me want to strangle him, and
the ending was very stupid and anti climatic. I loved the acting and basis,
but the movie overall bored me to tears.

zarbran says:

I loved Babadook, and it was great how there were multiple ways you could
view what happened in the movie, and even through the end, they really
don’t tell you which one was right.

axeofgod72 . says:

i loved the Babadook. watched it twice. it was like some sort of twisted Dr
Seuss nightmare… scary as hell, if you see it from the right perspective.

Alzar McHorse says:

So nice to see a film made in my state (South Australia) getting so much
international love!

Ida Crosby says:

Warning Spoilers!!!!!

I see a lot people comment saying that the kid was hell of annoying, and by
god he was. But i think that’s what the movie is trying to push on. You’re
thinking in your head “damn this little son of Satan needs to die already.”
But think about that’s how the mother feels everyday with her own son. Then
the mother starts going ape shit and we feel how the boy feels. So
basically you have a mother who can’t cope with the lost of her husband and
also her kid being born on that same day. So she can’t give love to her own
child because her heart is broken, she can’t feel anymore. Her actions of
keeping her child at a distance is the reason why the kid acts the way that
he does. There was one part in the movie where she is putting him to bed
that Samuel says “I love you mom” and all she can say is “me too.” Towards
the middle of the movie we start to see and feel what the kid goes through
especially when his birthday rolls around and his mother goes crazy. The
movie wanted you to feel what both are feeling and I really like that. Also
I want to point out that this is not the first time that Amalia has lashed
out at Samuel. I say this because when their neighbor comes and knock on
the door she says something that really conforms that this has happen
before. 

Ram Jam says:

Japan, Australia, Spain, South Korea and South American horror movies tend
to be top notch and meanwhile in USA we get crap like Ouija, Anabelle and
other movies that ruin the horror genre. Mama was a short film that was
good but got ruined when turned into a Hollywood movie.

ScarlettShinzon says:

I was so bored and annoyed during this movie that I zoned out half way and
by the time I woke up it was over. The depression part really wasn’t that
well done. At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all, I have enough
experience with depression to know the metaphors in this movie sucked
balls.

Sam Thomas says:

This movie scared me so much, I had to mute most of it and close my eyes,
It was a relief when it ended.

Michael Cheng says:

I swear I’m missing something, I watch this movie with the lights out and
head phones in ready for a scare and I got NOTHING! it’s so slow and there
so little pay off and the monster isn’t very scary at all.

I thought it was just me since it’s getting bloody 96% on RT, so I brought
it over to show my friends, I naturally fell asleep cause I’ve already
watched it and it wasn’t good the 1st time. They watched it and sure they
were on the edge a few times but there was zero pay off.

If me and my friends are missing something please full us in, we’re massive
Horror movie fans but found nothing good about this movie. 

Ireland1984 says:

I was bitterly disappointed. After all the rave reviews I really thought
this was going to be fantastic, and it wasn’t, I mean it REALLY wasn’t.
Very well acted and beautifully shot, but a horror film has to be judged on
how scary it is. In this respect it failed. I kept hearing how this film
got under people’s skin, certainly didn’t with me. By all means go and
watch it, clearly I’m in the minority here. But I would go as far to say in
my personal opinion it was the biggest let down of the year.

Linsey Matthews says:

I have to say, as far as it being called horror, I tend to disagree.
Psychological thriller maybe but not horror.

I am glad I am not the only one who sees the main theme here. Grief does
things to a person, makes them someone that they aren’t. It can isolate
them and make them lash out. Even once the worst of it is over, there still
may be moments where it takes over, where they have to get away, if only to
keep from hurting the ones they love.

Luke Cannon says:

Great movie that plays on your mind rather than give you cheap jump scares
and gore, if you’re a clever person who sees past what’s right under your
nose you will love it. If you’re a stupid person who needs everything put
on a plate for you, then it’s not for you and you should go and watch
paranormal activity or something. 

Ashley Cal says:

You know a horror movie does it’s job when it leaves you with dread and
strange feelings throughout the day. This movie was probably the best
horror movie I’ve ever seen

MrTaurenshaman says:

Also, if anyone who saw the original 1963 horror classic The Haunting
with Julie Harris will know (unlike that utter pile of crap remake in 1999
with catherine zeta jones) the 1963 version is how you do a psychological
horror movie, which the babadook made me feel.

The only minus I will give to this movie, which works in the main
characters favor, is just how completely unlikable assholes every other
supporting character is, the sister, the niece, the sisters cronies, the
social workers, the boss, the police, all of them complete fucktards to a
woman who is suffering. 

Byron Horde says:

Saw this movie and enjoyed it very much.

NakoTheNacho says:

The Babadook explained (or at least my take on it)
SPOILERS

Is it a metaphor? is it in their heads? is it real? all three!
The mom wrote the book subconsciously as a way to vent her stress (It is
stated that she once was a writer) this is why there is such a focus on how
she sleeps, cuz she’s writing the book. As for the Babadook itself it
starts out in their heads but it develops it’s own conscious and messes
with their minds. It takes physical form when it appears as her husband cuz
that is where her grief started. The reason it’s in the basement at the end
is because while “you can’t get rid of the Babadook” you can certainly live
with it. 

Project0061 says:

This movie isn’t a film for horror fans.
Horror fans are the lowest common denominator when it comes to visceral
film. Attack and stimulate their senses and they’re happy.
Show them something that’s any more subtle and they’ll become bored and
confused.
Now i’m not taking a stab at horror fans. I’m sure most of you are smart
people in real life. It’s just that you’ve been desensitized by a genre
that’s been, for the most part, either intellectually or viscerally stale
for a long time now, choosing rather to push the shock value boundaries
(Serbian film or Chaos anyone).
I honestly haven’t seen a horror this unsettling since The Thing.

tonedelux says:

This movie sucked. There’s my review. Save yourself the time. I have no
idea why he’s praising it so much

iamonthecan12 says:

The trailer and my roommate made it seem like it was an amazingly scary
horror movie about a physical monster, called the Babadook, that would
cause me to have nightmares, but it disappointingly had nothing to do with
a physical monster at all. The movie was more focused on the overwhelming
metaphor behind it about single parenthood and the insanity that comes from
severe anxiety of raising a child with behavioral issues and the depression
of losing one’s spouse. Based upon the ending of this movie, I cannot call
it a horror movie (even though it tries to be one) simply because neither I
nor my friend, Ruth, felt any kind of fear, dread, or shock throughout the
movie (I kind of did when the the dog was killed, but that was expected). I
would have considered it a horror movie though if the mother had killed the
son at the end, but nope… they lived happily ever by having the “beast”
tamed in the basement. 

imageez says:

I’m surprised by how people are mixed in the extremes on this movie, and as
a person who liked this movie a lot, I try to search if there’s anything
not to like about the movie.
(Potential Spoilers!)
If I have to give criticism to the movie, is that The Babadook, as a movie,
is scary, but the Babadook monster itself, is not scary. Yes, he has that
crooked voice and timing, but he’s no Freddy Krueger. Freddy is terrifying
because he made huge impacts on everyday people, which is death. Lots of
them. Nightmare power helps. Freddy is scary because of how much that we
know about him. We know his face, his methods, and we see his direct impact.
The Babadook, on the other hand, relies on not-knowing. He’s mostly shown
as a black shadow, and he doesn’t have a lot of screen time in the movie.
Many scary parts of the Babadook does not came from the monster, but from
how the mother and child reacts to it. The Babadook knows the art of
teasing, shown himself as a morbid child story character, messed with the
right person, and tease his existence to the protagonist’s breaking point.
It didn’t help that the mother and the child had a bitter relationship.
The problem with this premise is how specific it is. The monster is only
scary because the two protagonist had a hard tension. The tension here is
also unclear which makes the audience unsure who to root for. None of the
main characters are comfortable and easy for the audience to empathize
with, making it a mess that’s hard to focus on.
I shall still stand on my ground and say I liked this movie. This movie
dares enough to put uncomfortable characters in conflict which ironically
bring them to their growth. It’s not a straight up scary monster/ghost
movie, so expecting it would lead to disappointment,

Nicholas S says:

I’m alone, it’s dark, and scared to watch it but… I’m going to do it.
Wish me luck.

david quashigah says:

*Spoiler Alert* I just finished the film. Good horror/movie imo. Did anyone
else that watched this film think that the mother was dealing with
dementia? I saw connections between the car crash that killed her husband
and the idea that it may have caused a concussion, which is often a
correlating factor of neurocognitive diseases like Parkinson’s, which her
neighbour had. Lastly, it would explain why the Babadook cannot really
leave her, since it’s actually a part of her a.k.a incurable. The dementia
theory would also explain all her batshit crazy behaviour/poor parenting.
Food for thought. 

tomhulcelover says:

sometimes people don’t like things that make them feel a certain way…when
that happens though, you know a movie is good

vinícius bastos says:

The best thing about this movie is the fact that, if you strip out The
Babadook from the plot entirely, it’s still a riveting drama about a woman
trying to overcome the grief brought on by her traumatic past. It’s truly
exceptional.

Chris MacDonald says:

This movie is so good, I started to watch it when my GF was going to bed,
and she asked me what I was watching. I said, “The Babadook” and at that
point she’d seen the first five minutes, and sat beside me on the couch and
asked for a blanket. Let me make this clear, she HATES horror, and she
sat/cringed through the whole thing. Despite her not liking the genre as a
whole she loved this movie, and we continue to talk about it.

Jeremy Reviews Entertainment says:

My theory is that the Babdook stands for grief and depression, and that is
what is scaring them so much.

SurefireRox says:

i thought the film sucked. The transgressions was manipulated through
editing way too excessively. The complete lack of coherent context and the
way it was jaggedly explored left me confused and ultimately bored.

Retsam Ecar says:

Babadook = a Bad Book

Ilario Finis says:

I have to say one of the most frightening films I have ever seen and as a
parent have to say it made that more hard hitting. It also had the feeling
of things getting worse and worse when dealing with grief and depression.
It was a fantastic film.

Stafford Vaughan says:

You should do a Blu-ray review of it when it comes out. 

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