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Mister Babadook

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If it's in a word or it's in a look, you can't get rid of the Babadook
~ Excerpt from "Mister Babadook"
Ba-Ba Dook-Dook-DOOK!
~ The Babadook's chant

Mister Babadook, simply known as the Babadook, is the titular main antagonist of the 2014 Australian horror/thriller film of the same name. It is a supernatural creature who haunted Amelia and her son Samuel.

About

The Babadook most generally appears as a towering, shadowy bogeyman wearing a black coat and hat, with long, claw-like hands and a pale frightening face. The Babadook haunts whomever reads its poem and hides inside a pop-up book that mysteriously appears in random homes. As its prey becomes more frightened, the Babadook becomes more monstrous. When single mother Amelia reads the book to Samuel, both she and her son become increasingly paranoid.

When Samuel frightens his cousin by telling her about the Babadook, Amelia tries to destroy the book. To her horror, the book returns on the front door the following day, crudely repaired but with an additional poem. The poem tells Amelia that the more she resist it, the more it will haunt her. The pictures show a mother who vaguely resembles Amelia strangling her dog, killing Samuel and slitting her own throat. Amelia is horrified and burns the book.

The Babadook's presence pushes Amelia to the brink of insanity. She develops a sleeping disorder and keeps both Samuel and herself inside the house for days on end. Eventually, the Babadook takes over Amelia's mind and forces her to kill their dog, fulfilling its prophecy. Amelia is about to kill Samuel, but he manages to trap her and tie her down. The Babadook is rejected from Amelia and tries attacking Samuel, but is backed into a corner by his mother. As Amelia faces the fiend, she has a vision of her late husband, whose death she has been in denial about ever since Samuel was born. Finding the courage to face her inner demons, Amelia stands up to the Babadook, shouting that she will kill it if it tries to harm Samuel. Defeated, the Babadook then collapses in front of her, revealed to be nothing but a hat and trenchcoat. As Amelia reaches for it, the clothes rise as the shrieking Babadook rushes out of the room and locks itself inside the basement, where all of her husband's possessions are.

The film ends with Amelia celebrating Samuel's birthday. Amelia gathers up worms from the garden and enters the basement, where the Babadook appears. She leaves the bowl as food for the Babadook, which pushes the bowl into the shadows and devours the worms. While the Babadook cannot be banished, Amelia and Samuel manage to live their lives.

Symbolism

The Babadook is considered to be the embodiment of grief. As the film progresses, the five stages play out:

Denial

Ever since her husband died, Amelia has been avoiding the issue to the point where she barely acknowledges his existence, this has caused her to distance herself from anyone who tries to talk to her about it, which leaves her isolated except for her son. Whenever Amelia tries to ignore or get rid of it, the Babadook comes back even scarier than before.

Anger

The Babadook threatens to make Amelia kill her son and dog. After a lack of sleep, Amelia snaps at Samuel and their relationship gets progressively worse, until she seriously considers ending his life.

Fear

The Babadook makes itself visible to Amelia, spooking her by hiding in the background at first, then by turning into a big black silhouette and cornering her in her bedroom.

Bargaining

Amelia tries to hide from the Babadook in her basement. There she has a vision of her dead husband, but it's really the Babadook in disguise. He tells her to give him Samuel and everything will be fine.

Acceptance

It's only when Amelia stops being scared and comes to terms with her husband's death that the Babadook loses its power over her.

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