The world of cinema has produced many films that need explaining. It is quite fascinating how a film can become a topic of discussion over anything. Psychological thrillers have their own qualities that keep the audience on the edge of their seats and in constant search for the kissing pieces of the puzzle . Our thirst to know the root of the story somehow interests us to talk about it more. There are films we discuss a lot, about their structure, the approach of the story, and technicalities, but then there are such films that leave us on a cliffhanger.
Today we are going to discuss one of those films whose ending was simple yet metaphorically confusing. “The Babadook” is one of the finest movies of its genre, directed by Jennifer Kent. It is a psychological horror film featuring Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman. The story embarks upon the mystified flow of thoughts, hinted with horror. The approach and treatment both are commendable as whenever some plots open up, the audience will get the vibe of intimacy without any delay.
‘The Babadook’ Plot Summary
Amelia is devastated by the death of Oskar, as she never could let it go. She was not at all affectionate towards Samuel, as somehow she held him responsible for the death of Oskar. Amelia works at a retirement home where her existence is neglected in every way. When she comes home as a mother, her urge to specifically function as a wife remains unsatisfied. Whenever she washes the dishes, she looks through the window where her neighbor, the old lady, sits and enjoys her time watching TV. She wants to live a life like that, her peace is lost with Samuel doing all the crazy stuff. Amelia creates a world where she wants to be alone even with her sexual needs. The problem starts to grow when Samuel is not welcomed there.
He cherished the bedtime storytelling sessions he had with his mother, Amelia, and that one day he picked a book that introduced the character “The Babadook”. It was a horrifyingly graphic story for children which somehow possessed Samuel. He started to see Babadook everywhere. He even injured his cousin in this process. He started to make his life and Amelia’s as well even more difficult with his possession of the Babadook. She at first tore the book apart, but somehow the pages were glued and left at her doorstep. When she went to complain about this to the police saying that someone was stalking her and Samuel, for the first time she was believed to be in complete control by the Babadook, as she saw the dress of Babadook hanging in the police station. The sign of the possession was everywhere as Amelia lost her sleep and kept awake for days.
The book said that denying the existence will more effectively present Babadook and that was what happened with Amelia. She wouldn’t embrace the fact that Babadook exists, she denied it for so long that in the end she was possessed with it. Babadook made her kill their dog, and also appeared as Oskar to manipulate her into killing Samuel too. As the film makes it to its climax, Amelia somehow managed to fight against evil and kept it locked in the basement. Amelia protected Samuel from the Babadook by screaming at the top of her voice. The mother protects her child from the monster, and the love of the mother somehow restrained the dark side from doing any harm. Later, it is shown that Babadook started living in the basement. The representation of the past trauma can only be cured by embracing it, no matter how difficult it grows with time.
Ending Explained: Why Did Babadook Stop Harming The Family?
Embracing fear is one of the few things that can be the solution to many problems. It is understandable that in the state Amelia was, the fear of evil can significantly escalate in the subconscious. Samuel had a mind of a toddler who can erase and rectify the bad dreams with a hint of hope. If you buy a child something and tell him or her that the monster is gone, they sort of believe in you. But for an adult, removing the fear of evil can be a hard job and it can only be done by the already affected. In this case, Amelia could not resolve the issue of being followed by evil. The more she tried to escape the fear, the eviler her nightmare became. So, what changed the course?
The love for the child can win against any evil in the world. The love of a mother is something beyond scientific or psychological discoveries. Amelia was in a state of turmoil, her husband was dead, her affection for her child was lost, and she was basically humiliated by Samuel every day, but underneath all, she was the mother. Any possibility that can take her child away from her is far more significant than any evil. So, when Babadook tried taking Samuel from her, she screamed, she screamed so hard that even the evil could not possess any harm. The love of a mother can make evil look like a lesser monster.
As far as we look upon the ending, this is what happened to Babadook too. Amelia embraced her fear and started feeding Babadook. Since the day Amelia and Samuel embraced Babadook, it never haunted them. The earthly worms that were fed to the Babadook by Amelia were collected by Samuel. If Babadook is Oskar, then Samuel gathering food for his father is quite an anticlimax to some extent. Even if it is their past trauma, the family survives only by believing that it is something that can not be gotten rid of. Embracing the fear that gave birth to Babadook is one of the ways to live.
Again, if we remove the possibilities even further, what if the Babadook felt the motherly love for the very first time? Why did Babadook try to kill Samuel?
If you think with a certain perspective and admit the existence of Babadook, you’ll see that maybe Babadook never had the pleasure of being loved or cared for at all. That is the reason he doesn’t want Samuel to have it. But, since Amelia showed mercy and fed him, he started to feel at home. The basement became a place where he could find motherly love. He was fed, he was looked upon by a woman who actually scolded him nonetheless. Yes, Amelia fears his presence, but Babadook too now understands what Amelia is capable of. So, from this perspective, Babadook is someone who never had a loving childhood and now has found comfort in the basement with a mother who fed him from time to time.
“The Babadook” is a 2014 Drama Horror Film directed by Jennifer Kent.