This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Hollie Horror’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
The sudden and tragic loss of someone you love can affect a person in unpredictable ways, even years after the death. It can approach with a faint warning like a few gentle knocks on a door, or it can jolt you awake in the middle of a much needed sleep.
It was the morning of October 18th, 2014, a Saturday my husband had to work. As I woke up, I went through the groggy motions of my terrible morning ritual; grabbing my cell phone, and quickly browsing what the internet has left as an offering while I slept. Once I clicked on the blue icon with the big, fat "F" symbol, I was notified of birthdays/the date. I swing my legs to the side of the bed, my feet hit the cold, pergo flooring and I make my way into the kitchen. Once I'm there, I set my phone down on the counter and I start the task of making my first cup of coffee--and then I felt as though my heart stopped as I said aloud to no one, "15 years. It's been 15 years." I was punched with a sudden burst of grief--it was 15 years since Andy commit suicide. The anniversary had slipped by a few years in a row without much contemplation and, to my surprise, dry eyes. But, this realization, this sudden attack of grief, let out screams, tears and pain that I didn't even know I still possessed. So, I [barely] stood there, barefoot in my kitchen, grabbing on to the counter for support, grief stricken and almost completely out of my mind. Thankfully, I was able to eventually pull myself together, but the shock of it, the "it" being the all consuming power of grief, is not something I will soon forget.
The Babadook takes this pain that, unfortunately, others have experienced, and turns it into a thoughtful and brilliant horror film. What, writer and director, Jennifer Kent has given us is a film that is well-deserving of the praise it receives, a film that is unique and expressive within a genre that has a tendency to mass produce carbon copies of predecessors.
Amelia is the mother of, what we're initially introduced to as a troubled child, a six, almost seven-year-old boy named Samuel. This is a tough time of year for Amelia because while it is the anniversary of the birth of her only son, it also marks the day her husband was tragically killed in a car accident on the way to the hospital to give birth to Samuel. Samuel struggles with the anxieties associated with imaginary monsters, not having a father and feeling as though he's weird, or that there's something wrong with him when compared to everyone else. One night, before bed, Samuel finds a strange book in his bedroom entitled The Babadook and he asks his mother to read it to him. The book is absolutely horrifying and introduces a lurking monster who creeps in and never goes away, not until you're dead, and the more you deny it, the stronger it gets.
Once the book is introduced, we're quickly approaching the day that marks the death and birth of two of Amelia's family members. Spooky things begin to happen and the audience is left to speculate whether or not it's really a boogeyman or a lurking madness within the grief-stricken Amelia.
I quickly realized it was the latter when Amelia and her son were attending her niece's birthday party and Amelia's bitchy, suburbanite sister, Claire, mentions that Amelia was a writer. Amelia downplays her sister's claim and says she has written a few magazine articles and...wait for it....children's books.
As much as Amelia tries to deny her grief, burying it in the basement will only suffice for so long. The Babadook ends on a bright and sunny day, during a quiet birthday lunch, but the ending is far more ominous than that, as we know that she has done nothing but repressed her grief and it will, sadly, likely resurface when she least expects it, or, at the same time the following year.
The book predicted the death of her dog, her son and, eventually, herself. Take from that what you will, but it leaves an open ending that could be as grim or as happy as you'd like, because, really, you never know when that powerful, all-consuming grief is going to come knocking, or wake you in the middle of a much needed sleep.