Film Review: The Babadook

I recently watched The Babadook with a good friend of mine, and I wanted to review it because it truly surprised me in a positive way. The movie is a 2014 Australian psychological horror film, written and directed by Jeniffer Kent, The Babadook being her first directorial role. Produced by Kristina Ceyton and Kristian Moliere, the film stars Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman and Daniel Henshall and is based on Kent’s 2005 short film titled Monster. 

After conducting some research, I found it interesting that The Babadook was not a significant success in Australia when it was first released in 2014, however after it encountered positive reception at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, the film achieved more global recognition and grossed a total of $7.5 million despite its $2 million budget (Wikipedia).

The reason I say this film surprised me in a positive way is that it addresses mental illness in an incredibly unique way. The film depicts a mother and son who are grieving the loss of her husband and his father seven years after his passing. The mother refuses to acknowledge that her grief has begun to overwhelm her and interfere with her daily activities, thus when she encounters a children’s book titled The Babadook and its sinister contents, she realizes that her grief manifests into the Babadook monster and yearns to convince her to engage in hurtful and malicious actions.

I do not wish to spoil the entirety of the film, but the ending truly resonates with the concept of coping with grief and learning to take control over one’s inner demons. The conclusion puzzled me at first, however, after some thorough thinking I was able to comprehend what the end scene signifies and how emotionally powerful the film is as a whole.

I certainly recommend this film to any person who enjoys psychological thrillers, and I hope you will be pleasantly surprised, just as I was.

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