Why did I think the Babadook was just OK?

May 19, 2015 at 9:48 am (Randomosity) ()

Welcome to Hollywood Hates Me, the home of movie reviews that are way too late for anyone to care!

Recently, I finally watched The Babadook. I’d heard that 1) it was terrifying; and 2) the little kid was super-annoying. Both of those things were wrong.

Insert caption here.

Also, I was pronouncing Babadook wrong.

I’m an easily scared person. I’m scared of tons of things. But I’m not scared of the Babadook. And that little boy was freaking adorable. It’s not his fault he’s weird. It’s his mother’s fault for not loving him and not wanting to admit it so her little guy can get some help.

"All right, honey, we'll just eat dinner at our creepy table in our creepy kitchen in our creepy house, and not speak to each other at all."

“All right, honey, we’ll just eat dinner at our creepy table in our creepy kitchen in our creepy house, and not speak to each other at all.”

Pretty early on in the movie, we learn that Daddy died trying to drive Mommy to the hospital so Baby could be born. And it’s pretty clear that Mommy still blames Baby for his father’s death. It’s not rational, of course, and she seems to realize it, but the big problem is that she’s only faking being a good mother. She doesn’t really love her child; she just doesn’t want people to think badly of her. (And as the movie wears on, she stops worrying about even that.)

Samuel, the little boy, is an adorable, weird little kid.

An adorable, weird little kid who is READY TO DO BATTLE WITH MONSTERS.

An adorable, weird little kid who is READY TO DO BATTLE WITH MONSTERS.

He builds weapons to fight monsters so he can protect his mother. He knows she doesn’t love him, but he won’t admit it. And she’s the only person in the world (except for their awesome neighbor with Parkinson’s) who shows him anything resembling affection. Samuel is a sweet little kid who has to endure a lot of shit — getting kicked out of school; going to his horrible, HORRIBLE cousin’s birthday party (she accosts him and declares that nobody loves him, and that his dad hated him so much he died rather than have to spend time with him); getting in trouble for shoving his awful, AWFUL cousin out of a tree house, which she totally deserved, because she is the worst little girl ever; and then his mother gets possessed by an evil spirit and tries to murder him. Also, his only friend, the adorable white doggy, gets absolutely murdered, and it is so damn sad.

Parenting Tip #1: If an obviously haunted book shows up on your kid's bookshelf, don't read it.

Parenting Tip #1: If an obviously haunted book shows up on your kid’s bookshelf, don’t read it.

The actress playing the mother is brilliant, but it’s hard to feel much sympathy for a woman who refuses to get help for her son. Sure, by the time the movie’s roaring along, it’s because she’s possessed by the Babadook, but the kid is nearly 7 years old, and has clearly been suffering for a long, long time. Why didn’t she try to get help for him earlier? Why are they still living in that horrible house? I get that she’s still mourning her husband, but maybe she needs to step back and say, “You know, this is probably messing up my life and my kid’s life, and our adorable dog’s life that I will probably end later on in the film.”

"It's in the book, even."

“It’s in the book, even.”

Anyway, things really go to hell when the Babadook shows up, and the dog gets murdered, and Samuel stabs his mother in the leg, and they end up (SPOILER ALERT) hosting an evil entity in the basement and feeding it worms. I’m not sure why they do that.

Although I did learn that Babadooks like worms.

Although I did learn that Babadooks like worms.

There’s a few genuine scares here and there, and a unsettling feeling of dread the whole movie through, and I probably would have liked it better if I’d had more sympathy for the mother, but I thought she was a jerk, so there you go.

And you've got to admit, she looks like the kind of person who would kill her kid without even needing to be possessed by an evil spirit.

And you’ve got to admit, she looks like the kind of person who would kill her kid without even needing to be possessed by an evil spirit.

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2 Comments

  1. brikhaus said,

    I think it’s because of hype. Hype ruins everything. It’s probably the same reason why I thought “Guardians of the Galaxy” was “just OK.” The Internet is going to let me hear about that for a long time, I’m sure.

    • lokifire said,

      Maybe it was all the hype. I really liked the little boy, though, and I hope he goes on to a great career or, if he would prefer, a lot of actual little kid stuff.

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