Sunday, September 3, 2017

Don't Watch This Alone!: THE BABADOOK

Welcome to another installment of DON'T WATCH THIS ALONE!, where we review the best, worst and everything in between in the world of horror. This week we review a film about grief and the complicated relationship between a mother and her child, THE BABADOOK.

This film is the creation of Australian actress and director, Jennifer Kent.  She got the idea for this film from her 2005 short film, Monster. It was about a mother and boy haunted by a malevolent spirit.

The plot of this film is moving yet complicated. We have a mother named Amelia who is raising a somewhat troubled child on her own, since her husband's death. Her son Sam acts out and becomes preoccupied with a monster he calls the Babadook, from a book his mother read to him. Sam says he has to protect his mother from it. This film shows how grief keeps us from moving on. Grief was an important theme of this film because of how it manifested itself through the monster in the film. The consequences of not dealing with grief are isolation from family, friends and the loss of living a happy and fulfilling life.

I felt a strong connection to this film because of the unresolved grief I still feel over my grandfather. Essie Davis, who played the mother, had a great amount of unresolved grief as well over the violent death of her husband. I often times find myself relating to the characters I see on film, especially this one, and when I do, it adds something special to that film.

This film contains many great scenes, but there is one in particular that stands out for me. It is at Amelia's niece's birthday party. Sam is hiding from the kids in the tree house. His cousin says that Sam doesn't belong there and that there is something wrong with him because his dad died. Sam ended up pushing her, causing her to get injured. Amelia's sister Claire was hysterical and this incident pushed them even further apart. I felt sorry for Sam because he felt unwanted and like his mother blamed him for his father's death.

I enjoyed this film because it wasn't a typical horror movie. It had a warmth and depth to it. The Babadook made me look at my grief and how it was taking over my life, just like it was Amelia's. This film made me realize that I need to deal with that grief before it damages my relationship with friends and family.

The critics loved this film, especially because of the acting of Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman.  It received a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  I thought it was a well-crafted story that contained great acting and a theme that all audiences are able to relate too, grief. So if you haven't seen this one, I highly recommend you take the time to check it out.

Lisa's Score: 9/10

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