‘The Badadook’ was an Australian film that got a limited release in 2014. It may or may not have played here in Dayton, and if it did, it got little or no promotion. It is now available to stream on Netflix and is well worth the watch. There is violence in it, but it’s not a blood and guts horror flick. It’s more about the torment than the kill. Because of that, it is advisable to put something else like ‘Parks and Recreation’ in the queue right behind before going to bed.
The film revolves around a single mother named Amelia (Essie Davis), who lost her husband in a car accident on their way to the hospital while she was in labor with her son Samuel (Noah Wiseman). Samuel often exhibits troubling behavior in his desire to protect his mother, like taking a crossbow to school. This causes him to be alienated from other children. Amelia works as a nurse and struggles to pay the bills. Other than a kindly neighbor, she has almost no support system. A man from work takes an apparent romantic interest in her, but her grief over her deceased husband and difficulty with Samuel pushes him away. Her own sister shows little to no support; simply feeling that Amelia should simply move on with life. She also seems to have an aversion toward Samuel and seems to pass that along to her daughter who ridicules Samuel for not having a father so much that he finally pushes her out of a tree and breaks her nose.
One day for a bedtime story, they pick up a nursery rhyme type book called “The Babadook’ and read it. From that point on, Amelia and Samuel are progressively tormented by this menacing presence. The film addresses a number of horrors like isolation, depression, and the loss of control. It is one of those films that will likely gain popularity years from now as one of those films that encourages people to think about an analyze it’s meanings. Some potential audience members may lose interest because the Babadook is never fully seen, but they really should consider something. The original “Jaws,” which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, was more terrifying when the audience couldn’t see the shark. The sharks final meal of Robert Shaw, is far less disturbing than the young woman attacked in the opening scene or the child killed in the middle of the film. Sometimes things are more terrifying when left to the imagination. Such is the case with ‘The Babadook.’ The filmmakers had a small budget and had to rely of creativity. It works really well.