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Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Finally saw BABADOOK. And it made me quite sad

By now you most likely have too. And even more, if you didn't, you read enough to decide if would even appreciate the film.

I won't write a long winded review at this point, simply because I'm late to the game. But I will say that it was a little painful to watch.  The horror element is interesting. We are deflected at first, in a sense, and told to fear the BABADOOK.  The mother continues to try to burn the book containing the BABADOOK's words. The child, in this case a remarkable Australian actor Noah Wiseman who I think carried the film much better than even the main star Essie Davis, is also battling demons. His demons aren't typical, though. He has fears like other children.. he has sadness and grief. And in this film, he has a clearly mentally ill mother.

I am going to perhaps spoil it a bit, but not intentionally. Read on if you want..

I think the BABADOOK is a farce. I don't believe it to be real.. even more, Essie Davis's character Amelia is a former children's author. I think she understands the profound ways to either comfort to frighten children. In BABADOOK, she does both, sometimes simultaneously.  Her demons are in the basement in this film--the death of her husband defined her existence. She never fully mentally recovered from it, and as a matter of fact, descended into mental illness. The BABADOOK wasn't real, but she made it real. She created it in her own mind and convinced her son that it was real, too.  The 'monster' that Samuel was forced to battle in the end was his own mother--a mother who slipped by police and circles of friends with her mental illness. Instead of anyone helping her, they shoved her away. As we often do in society.

Samuel and Amelia had no family or friends in the end. They were abandoned.. they were alone. Amelia to somehow deal with her mental problems alone and her son, Samuel, forced to grow up without a father and under the gun of a mother who either may hug him or try to stab him.

The movie is heavy handed with metaphors. It's scary at first.. but when I started to consider what I thought it was really about, I was left was the final impression at the end of how sad it was. How hopeless..

Even though the final scene provided comfort after a movie of some rough stuff--and a dog strangling--I wasn't at ease at all. I think the mental illness--the BABADOOK--will rise again. You can never get rid of the BABADOOK. And in this case, as long as Amelia tries keeping her personal demons locked away, the BABADOOK indeed will return again.

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