Sunday, 15 January 2017

Adaptation B: The Babadook

This weekend I chose to watch Jennifer Kent's The Babadook (2014) after it was suggested to me in relation to my project. This isn't a formal 'review' but more just my thoughts about it and how it could help me with my project. I wasn't expecting much from the film despite how I have wanted it for a while, I was put off from it after hearing a lot of people saying it was not good (in reality I should know better than to listen to other people's opinions like that). However, I loved the film and I feel like I could relate to a lot of it to be honest.

The Babadook (2014)

I found it interesting because at the start of the film, you feel bad for Amelia (Essie Davis) because she is an exhausted single mother who works with dementia patients and has a young six year old boy - Samuel - who is very 'different'. Samuel is obsessed with making weapons due to his fear of fictional monsters that do not exist, or everyone assumes they don't exist. However, as the film progresses we begin to realise that Amelia is perhaps the one with more severe problems rather than her son. The Babadook is perhaps her personifying her grief for her husband, which has left her feeling not necessarily hateful, but certainly not loving of her son. The monster haunts her, and the boy himself warns her to 'not let him in', but she does without realising. Even though Samuel helps his mother expel The Babadook from her body, he reminds Amelia (and the audience) that there is no getting rid of The Babadook. Even after Amelia confronts the creature and sends it to their basement, they continue to feed the creature.

Let Me In

To me, this film was all about having malicious feelings and having to cope with said feelings. The feelings never go away, they are always part of you...but you have to deal with them. I feel this relates to the topic of my Adaptation project - and why I do not want a 'happy ending' to whatever story I make. While people do indeed recover from mental illness, I do not believe it simply disappears. People relapse, people think about whatever they suffer/suffered from all the time similarly to how often rehabilitated alcoholics or drug addicts often think about the substance they were addicted to  (I'm not saying this is the case for everyone, this is just what I have experienced/seen/have been told). It is a constant struggle, it is always there in the back of your head even if it's dormant.

You Can't Get Rid Of The Babadook

In terms of the art style and the way The Babadook was filmed, I really enjoyed it as it made me feel anxious without frightening me with jumpscares. The behaviour of both Amelia and Samuel were more distressing than the monster itself, especially seeing the foreshadowing in the book. It is clear that lighting, audio and the building of tension is what made the film more scary (although the strange dinosaur sound effect sometimes used for The Babadook ruined the immersion for me). I really liked how the illustrations looked within the book, it reminded me of In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Dirk Zimmer. I used to read that book as a child even though it frightened me. I liked the art style of the illustrated book within the film, and I think it'll inspire some of the look for my project despite my desire to create a more realistic creature...I like the high contrast, desaturated aesthetic.

And Once You See What's Underneath...

1 comment:

  1. Bingo! - Thought you'd like it or at the very least find it visually interesting. Great :)