There have been several excellent and terrifying horror movies released in recent years, but some would argue that Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook is the best of them all. The $2 million Australian film tells the rather straightforward story of a weary mother, an unruly child, and a deeply unsettling pop-up book, but the cumulative impact is to make viewers want to curl up in the fetal position in their seats out of sheer horror.
The Babadook is not only a terrifying picture but also a clever one that doesn’t feel the need to talk down to its audience or explain everything. However, this does leave the film’s ending open to different interpretations.
In particular, who or what is Mister Babadook, and why won’t he leave Amelia and Sam alone? Read on to find out more about this fantastic horror film, which we discuss in detail below and over the course of the next few pages.
‘The Babadook’ Plot Summary
Amelia has been crushed by Oskar’s death since she just couldn’t get over him. In her mind, Samuel was to blame for Oskar’s death, hence she showed no compassion toward him. Amelia works in an elderly care facility where she is completely ignored. Even though she’s a mother now, she still has the itch to fulfill traditional wifely duties at home.
She often watches the elderly lady next door from the window as she watches TV as does the dishes. Because of Samuel’s antics, she longs to lead such a life, and she has given up on finding inner calm. Amelia constructs a reality in which she is forced to satisfy her sexual urges in isolation. When Samuel is not accepted, the situation worsens.
He remembered how much he loved his mother Amelia’s bedtime stories, and how one night he chose the book that would expose him to “The Babadook.” Having read a particularly graphic children’s book, Samuel became seized by its evil. When he saw one Babadook, he saw them all.
And in the process, he managed to hurt his own cousin. By keeping the Babadook, he made his life and Amelia’s more challenging. She tore the book to shreds at first but then realized the pages had been glued and put on her doorway.
When she went to the police to report that someone was pursuing her and Samuel, the Babadook finally believed her when she spotted the dress of the monster hanging at the station. Amelia was unable to sleep for days, a sure sign of possession.
According to the book, telling people there is no Babadook is the best way to introduce them to the monster. For so long, she refused to accept the reality of Babadook’s existence, and as a result, she became possessed by it.
In addition to forcing her to murder their dog, the Babadook posed as Oskar in an attempt to trick her into killing Samuel. At the film’s climax, Amelia has successfully fought off evil and trapped it in the basement. Amelia yelled at the top of her lungs to scare the Babadook away from Samuel.
Despite the monster’s best efforts, the infant was unharmed because of the mother’s protective love. At a later time, it is revealed that Babadook made the basement his home. To heal from the effects of prior trauma, one must face it head-on, no matter how tough it may seem.
Ending Explained: Why Did Babadook Stop Harming the Family?
When faced with a difficult situation, accepting your fear can be the best option. That Amelia’s instinctive dread of evil was amplified by her mental state is comprehensible. Samuel thought like a child, one who can fix his or her bleakest nightmares by holding on to a glimmer of optimism.
A child might trust you if you bought them something and assured them the monster was defeated. Adults may find it difficult to overcome their aversion to evil without the assistance of others who have been through it themselves.
To make a long story short, Amelia was unable to stop the evil that was following her. Despite her best efforts, her nightmare just grew more terrifying. What then caused the route to alter?
The power of parental love is greater than any evil in the world. What a mother does for her child cannot be explained by any amount of research into human psychology or physiology. Amelia’s life was in disarray; her husband had died, she no longer felt affection for her child, and she was essentially humiliated by Samuel on a daily basis, but she was still the mother.
Everything is better compared to the danger of losing her child. Then, when the Babadook tried to steal Samuel away, she shouted so loudly that not even evil could harm her. Compared to a mother’s love, evil can seem like a much smaller monster.
From where we’re standing, it appears that Babadook met the same fate. Even though she was terrified, Amelia began to feed Babadook. Babadook hasn’t tormented Amelia and Samuel once since the day they accepted him into their family. Samuel gathered the worms from the ground that Amelia later fed to the Babadook.
If the Babadook is Oskar, then Samuel’s act of bringing food to his father is somewhat underwhelming. The only reason the family is still together is that they have convinced themselves that the trauma from their past is permanent. One way to live is to accept the kind of anxiety that can produce a creature like Babadook.
Again, if we eliminate even more options, what if the Babadook experienced maternal love for the very first time? Is there a deeper meaning to Babadook’s motives in his attempt to eliminate Samuel?
If you take a step back and consider Babadook’s existence from a particular angle, you can see that it’s possible Babadook was never shown any affection or care. That’s why he’s so adamant that Samuel doesn’t get his hands on it. Once Amelia showed mercy and fed him, though, he began to relax and feel more at ease.
He found comfort and care from his mother in the basement. He was cared for in the sense that he was fed and watched over by a lady, who yet reprimanded him. Amelia is afraid of him, but the Babadook is also aware of her abilities. So, from this point of view, Babadook is an individual who did not have a warm and caring upbringing but who has found solace in the basement with a mother who occasionally feeds him.