[Alternatives] – Movies – The Babadook

Alternatives is the tagline to discuss entertainment outside of literature. It may encompass television, movies, games, and music.

Movies – The Babadook

Genre: Drama, Thriller, Horror
Duration: 95 Minutes

“If it’s in a word, or it’s in a look, you can’t rid of The Babadook.”


the-babadook-posterI think the biggest realization I felt after watching The Babadook was its uncanny resemblance to how A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness) could have been under different circumstances. I’m not saying one is copying the other or vice versa. Both stories have a monster, yes. Both monsters are allegorical in nature when handling its core themes, yes. But the scope in narrative delivery is completely separated; through a different perspective if you will, and the joy in revelation is that the meaning is incredibly interpretative.

This movie is pegged to be a drama, thriller, horror; and while it is dramatic and [at times] thrilling, it is not your conventional horror movie with scare tactics and gore. Personally, I found The Babadook to be a dark, psychological drama piece that holds the thought of horror without ever having to reveal the nature of what the monster is. This is because, and without spoiling too much, the horror is both literal and allegorical in meaning. There are slow burning clues laden throughout the movie that propel the deeper meaning of what this movie tries to sell—and its these subtle nuances which drive the success of the film.

You’re probably wondering: what the heck is a Babadook? I can’t really answer that because I’m not truly certain myself. I do have theories about the name being a play on words combining baba and dook; the aggregate word/name being a metaphorical nod to all that is right and wrong concerning the intent in each scene. But until you watch this movie for yourself…I guess I’ll have to leave you hanging.

What I can discuss in greater lengths is that the takeaway from the movie is rad; especially for this debut director (Jennifer Kent). The acting is all-around on point. Amelia (played by Essie Davis) fleshes out the physically and mentally taxed role of Samuel’s mother pretty well. And for Sam (played by Noah Wiseman), well, he does throw down some excellent moments on why you might want to second guess having kids. Yet underneath all the normal yet poor behaviour of children being elevated (i.e. the whining and crying to say the least), this kid undeniably sells the role well. So something has to give—and this kid is going places. Oh, and what was with the fact that this kid had the craftsmanship and prowess to build those contraptions? That kind of went over my head a bit but it is what it is.

In terms of production, I think the only fault that stood out to me was the decision and direction for how The Babadook was audibly materialized. Literally, in some scenes it sounded like something off of a Jurassic Park movie. Maybe that’s just me though.

Overall, The Babadook was pretty cool. Nothing game changing in the genre but with the selection of horror movies this year, The Babadook was a good kind of different. And just maybe before I slept, the only thing in my mind was the name: The Babadook. It wasn’t that awkward. Nope.

I think a major reason I wanted to write this pseudo review was because of how similar this movie was to a novel I read.

I’m still debating if I should continue shooting out random reviews per television/movies/music/what-have-you since it’s not my usual content of discussion. Soooo we’ll see.



9 thoughts on “[Alternatives] – Movies – The Babadook”

  1. This really isn’t my sort of movie, but it looks cool. The trailer was enough to creep me out! I’m not used to hearing horror films with actors talking in my own accent!
    Can I ask if this is in the cinema where you are? Coz I’m 90% sure it isn’t here, and it’s an Australian film.


    1. You’re right–it’s official release date (at least in Australia and possibly US/CAD) is later this month!

      I saw this movie during a film festival in my city two weeks ago, and I think The Babadook has been premiering across different events worldwide for the past few months as well (correct me if I’m wrong though!).

      But yes, you should definitely check this movie out!


      1. I honestly have barely heard a peep about it in the Australian media, only some film critics are talking about it and saying how popular it’s been overseas. I won’t be surprised if it’s only screened in the artsy independent cinemas =( seems such a shame considering it’s pretty popular overseas!
        I’m a total sook when it comes to scary movies! I’ll tell my friend to watch it and she can tell me if she thinks I’ll chicken out =P


        1. Yeah, I think most theaters here will probably only show limited screenings in select locations (which is usually one theatre…) I feel like that’s how it is with indie-cred (ish) films that don’t really have blockbuster appeal but do well in the critic circuit.

          It’s not as horrifying as the trailer makes it out to be, though my tolerance is obviously different than yours. It’s smart creepy. Like the chills you get from opening your fridge when you’re starving only to find it’s empty and the goosebumps aren’t from lacking sustenance…but because the fridge is [obviously] cold. (I’m no good at this marketing thing.) But as I did mention in my not-really-review, I truly did have “Babadook” on my mind before I dozed off. Good or bad, you be the judge!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Really enjoyable read
    The only thing I’d disagree upon is the “game changing” aspect
    Recent horror films like “The Babadook”, “It Follows”, “Afflicted”, and “Oculus” are game changers in a sense, because their helping to veer the genre away from movies like “Paranormal Activity” and “Sinister” and bringing horror back to its roots
    Not to mention it breaks the traditonal taboo of all horror movies having awful, B-movie acting


    1. Haha, you make a fair point.

      I’m not a huge horror-buff myself (I mean, after Babadook and It Follows, the only other horror I remember viewing with certainty is Cabin in the Woods) so I guess it was a lapse in judgment to say that this film is not a game changer. In hindsight, I should have phrased it to say that I’ve read books where said monster/entity holds a deeper “human” meaning than what’s superficially represented (with respect to what The Babadook was/is).

      But yeah The Babadook had stellar acting. I can’t even imagine this film without the same Sam or Amelia!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you’re totally right
        If we compare it to the literary world, most films just aren’t going to match up
        I remember reading Stephen King’s “Desperation” for the first time, thinking it was going to be guff because of the awful book cover
        I couldn’t go into dark rooms for a month after that…


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