In the Shadows

Today’s post brought to you by The Daily Post Photo Challenge Shadowed

I recently went and saw The Babadook, the Australian psychothriller of a horror movie directed by Jennifer Kent.

It’s not your easy-peasy throw-away horror movie with jumps that make you piss your pants or projectile vomit your pre-movie dinner, but it is terrifying. So much so that rather than conjuring an illusion of a little girl in the deep shadows of the night, I now think of a cloaked monster—the true form of which I’m not entirely sure of because it’s not some character from a scary story, but a monster of my making from my own deep, dark subconscious.

shadows shadows

In this sense Freddie and Jason have nothing on Mr. Babadook. And neither does the crazy clown psycho dude in the Saw franchise.

I won’t go into specific details of the movie, but I wanted to share some of my quick thoughts about it in relation to this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge prompt. It’s worth seeing, so I’ll try not to spoil too much. (Apparently you can rent it on YouTube for the price of a venti-sized caffeinated drink from Starbucks.)

Like I just said, The Babadook is not your cheap-trick horror film. It’s goes much deeper, hitting your central psychological core, and that’s what makes this film so terrifying. And a work of art.

It has a social-psychological aspect to it, commenting on the issue of inadequate community support for those suffering from some kind of trauma and psychological break. The Babadook is not some monster wreaking havoc on this small family. Rather, it’s a manifestation of sorts of Samuel’s (the son), made more and more real by Amelia’s (the widow/mom) inability to cope with a traumatic event experienced by both mom and son. Hence why both experience Mr. Babadook.

The Babadook lives in the deepest, darkest shadows of our minds. Triggered by some psychological trauma, of which we haven’t been able to fully cope with.

The longer someone goes without addressing the issue that torments them, the stronger this boogeyman grows. Growing, and growing until it consumes the mind. It overtakes the body, taking control of it in terrible ways.

Not everyone has a boogeyman-resulting traumatic experience, but the unsettling fear is real. And this was expressed well int he film when Amelia starts freaking out in the car because Mr. Babadook attacks them. But no one else sees Mr. Babadook.

It’s that unsettling feeling you get when your eyes play tricks on you in the middle of the night. Is that a person in that corner of the darkened hall? Did I just see a shadow cross the dark meadow? Who’s that in woods? Is someone following me?

Your mind gets excited and all these monsters start popping up.

You freak out.

How do you react?

There’s something in the shadows. You want to see what it is, but you don’t. What if it’s a terrible monster? Do you address it head on? Or keep trying to hide from it, hoping it’ll go away?


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