Episode 5

June 21, 2022


The Babadook (2014)

Hosted by

Carolyn Smith-Hillmer
The Babadook (2014)
The Final Girl on 6th Ave
The Babadook (2014)

Jun 21 2022 | 01:02:23


Show Notes

Talk about a heavy one! Jennifer Kent's 2014 psychological thriller, "The Babadook", made me laugh and cry and do some serious self-reflection. Enjoy! 



“The Babadook.” IMDb, IMDb.com, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2321549/characters/nm0204583?ref_=tt_cl_c_1

Murrian, Samuel R. “Celebrate Pride Month with Our in-Depth Look at the Babadook, the Best Horror Movie so Far This Century.” Parade, 13 June 2022, https://parade.com/897935/samuelmurrian/the-babadook-jennifer-kent-analysis/#:~:text=The%20Babadook%20is%20a%20supernatural,%2C%20Oskar%20(Benjamin%20Winspear).

Staff, CL. “How Grief and Trauma Can Manifest as 'the Babadook'.” Collider, 6 Jan. 2022, https://collider.com/the-babadook-ending-explained/.
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Episode Transcript

Hello everyone! Welcome back to the Final Girl on 6th Ave podcast. I am your host and 6th Avenue’s very own final girl, Carolyn Smith-Hillmer, and today we are talking about the 2014 film The Babadook. This movie was written and directed by Jennifer Kent and stars Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, and Daniel Henshall. Our bible, IMDB, has the following synopsis: “A single mother and her child fall into a deep well of paranoia when an eerie children's book titled "Mister Babadook" manifests in their home.” The Babadook is 1 hour and 34 minutes long, so definitely an enjoyable length for a cozy Sunday night when your partner plays PS5 all day long. AHEM. Anyways. Let’s get on with it. The movie starts with a woman in a car getting splashed with water and in slow motion during a car accident with a male. A small boy is calling for his mom. The mother was just dreaming and woke up to her son asking for help to find his toy. Then she reads him a children’s book in bed and the boy talks about how he will kill the monster when it comes by smashing its head in. The story is about the three little pigs. She waits in bed for her son to fall asleep. The next morning, she wakes up to her alarm accompanied by some loud banging. Her son has been building some catapult contraption that you can wear as a backpack to kill the monster and demonstrates it for her by launching a ball through a window. The mom is very sensitive to her son’s touch, which is kind of strange. She moves as far away from him as possible in the bed at night and while getting her son ready for school he gives her a hug and she tells him not to do that. not sure what “that” is yet. Mom is a nurse at elderly folks' homes. she gets called to her son’s school and the school administrators show her another weapon that her son made which is a compound bow and arrow. They tell the mom that he needs a full-time monitor and the mom says she is just going to take her son out of the school altogether. Later at a grocery store, Samuel is playing with another little girl and the little girl’s mom comes up and says they have to leave to go see daddy and Samuel says “my daddy’s in the cemetery, he died driving my mom to the hospital to have me.” Why the FUCK does he know that when he is literally 5??? Seems like a mom here has some grief to work through and blames her son for her husband’s death a little bit. Mom goes to a park to chat with another mom while the lady’s daughter and Samuel play. Samuel keeps yelling that he is going to bash its head in and Sam keeps yelling for his mom. The other little girl’s name is Ruby and Ruby and Sam always have a joint birthday party. Ruby wants to have her own birthday party this year and not share it with Samuel. I get that. all the while the two moms are talking, Samuel climbs up a swing set and jumps off the top. Stupid ass. He screams in the car while mom doesn’t react at all. She takes Samuel home and the dog keeps pawing at this one door in the house. Mom and Samuel eat dinner and check for monsters all under the bed and closets. In bed, Samuel asks his mom to read him “The Babadook” book, and she has no idea where this book came from. The book is actually terrifying and looks like something you would show someone if you wanted them to take LSD and have a really bad day. She gets almost to the end of the book and does not finish reading it because it talks about wishing you were dead when you meet the Babadook. Samuel freaks out and has a mental breakdown because he wants his mom to tell him if the baba lives under the bed and she won't. She reads him another book instead while he screams and he eventually falls asleep. She takes the book and puts it above her wardrobe in her room so he can't reach it. He keeps touching her at night like on her leg or ear and she hates it. She eats a snack in the living room and watches some late-night shitty tv with the dog before deciding to go upstairs and use her vibrator before bed. All the while, the dog won't stop crying and Samuel wakes up with the wardrobe doors open and the clothes swaying. Samuel evidently sleeps with the red rubber ball under his pillow just in case this ever arises. He runs to interrupt his mother’s late-night activities and scares the shit out of her and he tells her the Babadook is in his room and she gets pissed. She’s like no way this is not happening and Samuel sleeps in the bed with her. Later that night, she reads a book and hears some heavy thumping while Sam sleeps. She gets scared and puts her book away and watches her son sleep. Timelapse passes and Sam wakes up his mom at 9 am. He keeps trying to take these homemade weapons to other places. Sam obviously isn’t going to school anymore so she takes him to his aunt’s house. At work, mom pulls bingo numbers and really sucks at it. In the breakroom, her male coworker who is clearly smitten with her offers to let her go early because her boy is sick (she lied about him being sick to be late for work I am assuming). She goes to a shopping mall and has an ice cream cone and sees a couple making out in a car across from hers in a car garage. 10 missed calls on her phone from his aunt Claire. She goes to Claire’s house and Claire yells at Amelia because Samuel has decided to talk all day to the “air” to the Babadook and he gets upset saying it's real and throws a firecracker at the ground. Scared the shit out of me. In the car on the way home, he says he got them on the internet and she tells him that is the end of the internet for him LOL. He tells her that the Babadook will scare her first and then she sees it. He says she will be scared of it when it creeps into her room at night and eats her insides. At home, mom makes dinner while Sam puts on a magic show downstairs in the basement with firecrackers and more weapons and talks about how he is going to protect mom and trap the Babadook. She says that dad’s stuff is downstairs and Sam is like well that is my dad too you don’t own him. Amelia’s male coworker comes over with flowers and a model airplane for Sam and Sam tells him he is not actually sick. She tells him the truth, that Sam is too disobedient to go to school and Sam tells her he hates her and that she won't let him have a birthday party or a dad. She goes downstairs after the coworker leaves and cleans up the basement. While eating dinner, she finds glass in her soup and calls her mouth. She tells him to not eat the soup and he tells her that Babadook did it. She tells him to go and just watch a DVD. The magic show he was doing in the basement is a reenactment of this DVD. She goes up to her room to find clothes all over the floor and a photo of her and her husband that her son was performing on the bed with drawings all over it. She goes to his room to scold him and he takes out his catapult. She gets pissed and takes it from him and he pushes her and screams “do you wanna die??” She is sitting downstairs at the table and hears a thud. Upon investigation, her son’s wardrobe has fallen on top of him and he is trapped. She gets it off of him and he keeps saying not to let it in. the book has now made its way to his room again. She takes the book downstairs and rips pages out of it. They sleep in the same bed and she hears loud footsteps. In the morning, they go to Ruby’s birthday party. Mom gets mouthy with some of the other moms at the party after some rich snob says she works with disadvantaged women, implying that she is one of them. Sam clings to his mother and is scared to leave her side. Later at the party, he is hiding in Ruby’s treehouse and Ruby comes to kick him out. He tells Ruby that it cant be possible for Claire to know if the Babadook is real or not bc she never comes over. Ruby says Claire cannot go to their house bc it's too depressing. He tells Ruby that the Babadook would eat Claire for breakfast and rip her arms off. Ruby tells Sam that he isn’t even good enough to have a dad. Claire tells Amelia that she can't come over anymore because she hates to be around Samuel. Ruby tells Sam that his dad died because even he couldn’t be around him. He pushes Ruby out of the treehouse and busts her nose open. In the car on the way home, they scream at each other and Sam has a fever convulsion, which looks like a stroke and they go to the hospital. The doctor says he has a high level of anxiety and offers to refer her to a psychiatrist. She pleads for some pills to make him sleep and the doctor agrees. That night, Sam takes the medicine after he and his mom make a promise to protect each other. After he falls asleep, she goes to bed and sleeps until 11 am. When she gets up, Samuel is still sleeping. She goes downstairs and there is a knock at the door. she opens it, but no one is there. Again, more knocking but super loud. She looks on the front step and finds the Babadook book with more pages in it about how the more you deny the Babadook, the stronger it gets. It also has pop-ups now of her killing the dog, her son, and herself. It implies that she is the Babadook or will turn into it. She burns the book. She gets a call from Claire about how Ruby will need surgery. Claire hangs up and another call comes through from someone that just says Babadook over and over. Amelia goes to the police to file a report and the police cannot help her because she burned the book. She sees the Babadook behind the officer and leaves. At home, the dog won't let her touch it and it barks at her and she finds roaches in the kitchen. She finds a large gap in the wallpaper behind the fridge a hole behind it where roaches start to pour out. Why do I keep watching movies with roaches? She cleans the kitchen thoroughly. At the door, the Dept of Child services comes to meet Samuel because he is not enrolled in school. He tells the DCS people he is super tired from the drugs his mom gave him. The DCS lady asks for a glass of water and follows mom into the kitchen. Amelia explains that she found a hole in the wall and found roaches there, but when they look at the wall it is completely patched up. They leave her with some paperwork. Sam sleeps on the couch all day and while Amelia does the dishes, she sees the Babadook in the neighbor’s house. Sam tells mom he is going to bed even though it is only 6 pm. She says he has to stay awake for a little while bc otherwise, the pills won’t work. So they watch some tv together and she puts him to bed with a bedtime story. The lights flicker. In the middle of the night, the dog barks, and some movement can be heard. She lets the dog in the room but the moving is still loud. The bedroom door opens and the Babadook crawls in and says its name. it crawls into her mouth and she wakes up. She wakes up a sam and they go to sleep downstairs with the tv on. On the tv, a show shows the Babadook. She never went to sleep. The dog sleeps with Sam on the couch and barks at Amelia. She goes to her room to finally lay down and Sam says he’s feeling sick and really needs to eat and couldn’t find any food. Mom literally tells him to eat shit if he is so hungry. She goes to apologize to Sam and finds him crouched in the corner of his room and won't let her touch him. She takes him for fast food and on the way home, she notices that there are more roaches in the car and on her. On the floor, there are 2 black gloves. She sees and hears the Babadook and swerves on an empty street into the one car that is on the road with her. Like Tina from Bob’s Burgers. She drives away without exchanging information. At home, she and Sam take a bath with literally all of their clothes on. She is so tired she cannot even open her eyes anymore and Sam offers to call Claire, but obviously that is not going to work. Amelia takes a violin upstairs to bed and lays down with it. Her son keeps trying to touch her and the instrument, but she snaps at him for it. He sits across the room in a chair and watches her sleep. She wakes up later to a voice saying, “there is someone in the house”. She goes downstairs to find Sam on the phone with the neighbor with Parkinson’s and asks if he can stay the night with her. Amelia is immediately pissed because she already told him to not call anyone, so she cuts the phone lines and locks all the doors. She tries to put Samuel to bed with his pill and he doesn’t want to take it so he pretends to swallow it. Amelia goes downstairs to watch tv and not sleep, even though she literally needs to do nothing but sleep. She is still holding the knife from cutting the phone lines and hallucinates that she stabbed Sam and left him bloody on the couch. She snaps to reality and is standing over Samuel while Samuel is on the couch, crouching down. She goes to her room to calm down and hold the dog, but the dog won't let her hold it and barks at it. She makes Sam a snack and he sleeps on the couch with the dog crouching over him. Amelia watches a news story on tv about a woman who stabs her son to death. The tv turns off and Samuel is standing beside her instead of sleeping. He tells her to wake up and he walks downstairs to the basement. In the basement, Amelia finds her husband and embraces him. This bitch needs to sleep. He says we are going to be together; you just need to bring me the boy. His voice is deep, and he keeps saying you can bring me the boy and that it is going to rain. She runs upstairs to see the Babadook in the kitchen. She runs to her room, but the Babadook comes in through the fireplace. It bites her. Cut to Amelia watching tv in the living room, twitching every so often. Sam and the dog had been hiding upstairs. The dog goes downstairs and barks at Amelia. Amelia runs after the dog and kills it with her hands by breaking its neck, just like in the pop-up book. She then proceeds to pull out one of her teeth that has been giving her trouble for some time. She sees Sam spying on her from upstairs and runs after him. She tells him the dog is hurt and they need to get him help. She superhuman breaks down the door and tells her son that she wishes it was him that died in the accident and not her husband and that she just wants to smash his head against a brick wall until his brains pop out. He uses his homemade weapons to get past her and she tells him to run as fast as he can. The neighbor comes over and tells Amelia that she knows this time of year is hard and blah blah blah. Amelia meets Sam in the kitchen and tells him that she is sick and has been since her husband died. She says they are going to go stay with the neighbor tonight and that she wants Sam to meet his dad. Sam proceeds to stab Amelia in the leg and Amelia takes the knife and tries to run after him. Sam hits her in the back of the knees when she runs into the basement and ties her up like he said he would in the magic show. She screams and laughs at him. He says he knows that she doesn’t love him because the Babadook won’t let her but that he loves her and always will. He says you let it in so you have to get it out. She then tries to strangle him and lets him go because she then proceeds to throw up black shit all over the floor. Once she stops convulsing, they hug and the Babadook pulls Sam all the way up the stairs into her bedroom and starts to throw him against the wall and shake the bed. Her husband appears again and tells her to keep breathing, 10 more minutes, put her seat back, it’s going to rain. His head severs and he falls to the floor. She collapses with sadness. She hears the Babadook growling and tells it that it is nothing and that this is her house. Eventually, it appears after shaking the house so hard it breaks a bunch of shit. The Babadook collapses on the floor and lowly groans. She goes to touch it and gets up and literally flies to the basement. They can’t get the basement door open. She and Samuel hug each other on the couch. The DCS people come over again and Sam tells them the same thing about their dad when the house is prepped for his birthday party. In the garden, mom and son pick out some worms from the ground and put them in a bowl. She sends Sam outside while she takes the wormy bowl to the basement. The Babadook tries to attack her but she tells him it is all okay and he accepts the bowl of worms. She goes outside to her son and they have fingerlings while Sam does magic tricks. The movie ends with Amelia telling Sam happy birthday while she holds him like a baby. Okay so there is no secret here, this movie is about grief. Straight up about grief. If you disagree, please don’t talk to me. But it is also about being a single parent and caregiver to an extra demanding child. The exhaustion she is experiencing is from being a single mother to a child that is literally sucking the life out of her while she is also suffering from the grief of no longer having her husband in this world. And every single day Amelia wakes up and looks at Samuel, she is just reminded of her husband that died while driving her to the hospital to give birth to Samuel. I think this is what we often talk about with rape victims too. The thought of being a victim of rape and getting pregnant and carrying that child to term and keeping it would be a constant reminder to me at least of the event that brought the child into the world. There were also parts of this movie that reminded me of Hereditary directed by Ari Aster. I know the Babadook was made before Hereditary, but I couldn’t help but think of the scene when Toni Collette is standing over her son telling him how she wishes she never had him and how she tried to inflict an abortion on herself to not have to go through birthing him. In a way, this movie is also about depression. The Babadook is the personification of depression. It is a black cloud that never goes away, it is always there and always will be. That is why it does not die or just simply disappear when confronted and overpowered by Amelia. It now lives in the basement and is something that Amelia has to remember every single day is there and has to take care of. And that is just like depression. When you deny it, it builds and builds and builds until it wears you down to the point that you cannot eat or sleep and you hallucinate and snap at the people around you that you care about. And then from there what can you do? You are powerless to it after a certain amount of time that you choose not to deal with it or take care of it. It rules your life.

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