I just finished watching The Babadook for the second time. Rented it on Amazon. Actually it was the third time I had started it. The first time it was late, I was alone in a creepy, empty apartment. I was tired, and after 35 minutes the movie scared me enough to be frightened by an unknown sound down the hall. I decided to watch it the next night. I went to bed and tried not to think about it.
Tonight it was friends and drinks over to the same apartment to watch what I billed as a truly scary horror movie. Not shocking. Not gory. Scary.
I want to find the words. Why The Babadook stood the hair on my arms, why it made the possible reality, possible. Horror comes to us in many flavors and colors. Blood red. Bone white. Dark empty terror. Horrible soundless screaming. Expectant silence.
The Babadook allows us, so beautifully, to see the possible horror within that most treasured of all bonds, mother and child. Is the Babadook within, or without? Is it possible? We can imagine the end, the extremity of emptiness, of soundless, screaming hopelessness that would let the Babadook in. It makes us think about what would happen if we ever let our own Babadook in. Can our own demons invade and conquer us?
That’s what good horror does. That’s why we read horror, or watch horror, because it is possible. We cannot be sure. So we watch. We walk into a dark hallway. We wonder if we are truly alone at night. We feel a stare from that dark corner. We see shapes that may or may not be there, we see our Babadook. Someone scratches out the mimicked sound, Ba-baa-doooook, and we can be afraid.
Don’t say that again!
This is a good horror movie. One of the best in recent memory. The mother and child are so well portrayed, so believable in the simplicity and depth of shared terror. The music, sounds and faces play together simply and horribly, believably.