We've seen the release of many fantastic and frightening horror films in the last few years, but there is an argument to be made that none could be called better than writer/director Jennifer Kent's The Babadook. Made for just $2 million, the Australian movie is the rather simple story of an exhausted mother, an out-of-control child, and incredibly disturbing pop-up book -- but it comes together as an exercise in pure terror that effectively gets movie-goers to curl into the fetal position in their chairs.
In addition to being scary as all hell, The Babadook is also a smart film that doesn't feel the need to explain everything and talk down to its audience -- but that does leave the ending up to some interpretation. Specifically, what is Mister Babadook, and why won't he leave Amelia and Sam alone? Below and on the next couple of pages we dive into this subject in depth, so read on and learn more about this magnificent horror movie!
SPOILER WARNING: The following feature contains massive spoilers for The Babadook. If you have not yet seen the film, and don't wish to know details about the way the movie ends, you may want to click away to another one of our wonderful articles.
What Happens At The End Of The Film
It's a bit hard to pinpoint an exact place to call the beginning of the end in The Babadook, given that the end of the second act is as chaotic and insane as great cinema gets -- so we'll just start after the young Sam (Noah Wiseman) has managed to knock out his mother, Amelia (Essie Davis), and tie her to the floor in the basement. Still clearly under the influence of Mister Babadook, she wakes up and immediately assaults her child, attempting to choke him and kill him. Doing anything he can to try and stop her, knowing she loves him very much, Sam reaches out with his hand and begins to stroke his mom's cheek, which works successfully.
Amelia releases her hands from around her son's throat, has a nice solid freak out, turns over, and vomits a long spew of black liquid. While it seems for a moment that Amelia might be gone, she wakes after being stirred by Sam. As they go back upstairs, the atmosphere becomes peaceful once again, and it looks as though the mother and son are finally free to return to their lives, with the evil monster that has been plaguing them finally gone. Unfortunately, it's at this point that Sam reminds Amelia of one of the pop-up book's most memorable lines: "You can't get rid of the Babadook!" Sam falls backwards and is quickly pulled up the stairs by an invisible force, dragged into his mother's bedroom.
When Amelia catches up with Sam, she watches as he is violently thrown against the wall multiple times -- leading her to grab him and take him to the bed. Staring into the darkness of her room in which Mister Babadook loves to appear, she screams asking what the haunting figure wants. From out of the shadows we see Amelia's dead husband, Oskar (Benjamin Winspear), who repeats the words he said just before the car crash that killed him -- and she watches as his head is sliced in half. It's the visage that finally pushes the grieving mother over the edge, and she begins to howl at the torturous presence: "This is my house! You are trespassing in my house! If you touch my son again I'll fucking kill you!"
Though it seems like the house is going to fall apart for a moment, the chaos abates, and Mister Babadook's seemingly empty suit and top hat fall to the floor. As Amelia approaches it and reaches out, it once again stands to full height, screams in Amelia's face, and speedily bolts down to the basement, where Amelia locks it in.
The next scene picks up sometime later, as Sam celebrates his birthday at home... with the presence of the two social services workers checking in. Both Amelia and Sam seem much happier than they were, and Sam is incredibly excited to actually be having a party on his actual birthday. While this is perceived as odd, Amelia explains the situation, and says that her husband died on the day of Sam's birth -- following up by noting that her son very much takes after the departed Oskar.
Once the social workers have left, Amelia goes into the backyard and begins digging up worms and putting them in a bowl with Sam's help. Together, they then go to the basement door, where Sam asks if he'll be able to see it -- and his mom explains that he will someday, when he's bigger. Going downstairs, she puts the bowl of worms on the ground -- as is scared to have Mister Babadook charge at her, blowing her back. This winds up being just one intense moment, however, and after calming words from Amelia, the monster eventually retreats, taking the worms with him. Having successfully fed the beast, the proud mother goes back upstairs to have sandwiches with her son, and watch him perform an amazing magic trick. Finally happy, she hugs Sam and smiles as the credits begin to roll.
But what does this all mean? Who is Mister Babadook? Go on to the next page for our explanation!