The Babadook is scary. The film – written and directed by Jennifer Kent – is an Australian-set horror film about grief, coping with death, the bond between mother and son, and a mysterious scary figure with long fingers and a top hat straight from the pages of a creepy children’s book.
The film revolves around a lonely single mother, Amelia, and her unruly 6-year-old, Sam. Sam’s father died driving Amelia to hospital to give birth and Amelia is still wrestling with the grief and heartache that filled the void left by her late husband. With Sam’s growing obsession with The Babadook from the book – and blaming the monster for his Damien-like misbehaving - the paranoia and fear spreads to his mother, and before long the fear begins to manifest itself throughout their house. The Babadook torments those aware of its existence, and the more the pair begin to fear the monster, the greater its hold over them grows.
Amelia’s paranoia grows as the unexplainable occurrences grow until she becomes a reclusive shut-in, plagued by the visions of the monster and filled with contempt for her son. The film reaches a fever pitch with the arrival of Amelia’s dead husband, Oskar, and a harrowing request he has.
Australia provides a nice backdrop for the horror film – the Aussie elements rarely played upon, but the knowledge that it is set in Adelaide sits nicely on the viewer’s subconscious. After all, nothing too scary or bad could happen in the beautiful sunshine down under.
The film is incredibly atmospheric and ramps up the fear factor with many jump-out-of-your-skin moments. To avoid spoiling any of the truly terrifying moments, here is a rundown of the top 3 underrated comedy scenes of The Babadook that made it a great watch for us.
#3 – Caught in the Act
Throughout the film, as well as being plagued by insects, The Babadook, and grief, Amelia is also plagued by a toothache. She constantly eats sweets and chocolate throughout the movie, and even uses it as a way to bond with her son following shouting at him. But the sweets aren’t the only craving Amelia has – and as The Babadook represents grief, her desire for sweets represents her craving for a relationship with someone else. Audiences cringed in unison when, to satisfy her sweet tooth, Amelia begins using a back massager – and has Sam barge in at the most inopportune moment with calls of The Babadook. The scene provides a lapse of the horror and a moment of light reprieve.
#2 – A New Take on Bingo Calling
Amelia’s existence is sad – her husband’s death has left her in a state of limbo with only her son to keep her company. She devotes a lot of time to him, even in spite of his sometimes unruly behaviour. To loosen up, she decides to infuse some fun in her job as a bingo caller for a group of elderly people she cares for. To give the game an added kick of comedy, she changes what she states as each number is called. The scene represents Amelia attempting to shake the monotony of her existence – that has been put on hold since her husband died/Sam was born. The residents of the care home aren’t impressed with her behaviour, but it gave the audience a comedy moment. The scene was funny to everyone, even those who don’t play bingo, due to the popularity of the game. The popularity is evident in the vast amount of bingo players, young and old, from physical based locations to a variety of sites for online bingo players. Next time you’re playing, why don’t you try shouting out risqué gag versions of the bingo numbers.
#1 – Earthworms for Dinner
The film’s ending is a strange one – almost bittersweet – and perfectly representative of the true story of grief and coping with a loved one’s sudden death. During Sam’s 7th birthday party, Amelia lovingly prepares a bowl of worms and maggots for dinner – almost as a way of letting go. Due to Sam’s birthday being the same day as her husband’s death, this happened to be the first birthday Amelia celebrated. While more unconventional than a cake, the bowl of worms goes down nicely for the audience of the film at a satisfying conclusion.
Of course, you’ll have to watch the film to truly embrace the horror aspects of The Babadook. But beware – the more you deny him, the stronger he grows.[amazon box="B00OYT9X7O"]