Understanding “The Babadook”


If any of you out there were like me when you first watched this movie, than you obviously felt a huge amount of dissatisfaction. I mean up until the end the entire story gripped me. It opened with the car crash with her husband which showed me this would be a pshycological thriller instead of your average run of the mill, violent blood and gore horror movie. And then it got to the book which kept evolving throughout the story in a very sinister way.Which held my hand and led me to the finish line but when I got there the prize wasn’t what I had expected. I wanted to see him take off his “funny disguise”. I wanted to see what was underneath and would make her want to die. Which was where the focal point seemed to be. But I didn’t receive that, instead i ended with the film confused and pissed off that I had wasted my time on this movie. After a little bit of thinking though I started to piece the whole thing together. It was then I realized that this movie was just like any good magic act, the trick was the most important part. I was more focused on the outcome itself than on the execution, and it is the execution in which this movie thrives and explains a beautiful and excellent tale that begs for our absolute attention to detail in order to fully understand and appreciate. That being said It is my theory that The Babadook is actually the spirit of her husband and the idea behind it goes much deeper and darker than that. Follow along as I go in detail to further explain my assumption, and hopefully you too will find a new respect for this film.


It is hinted throughout the movie that the father was a magician. Which is probably why the boy is so interested in practicing magic himself even though he isn’t very good at it, it’s in his blood. And at the very beginning while she is dressing her son the camera pans to a framed poster on the wall that shows little demons with Thurston the great magician displaying the wonder show of the universe that states “do the spirits come back?” Emphasizing the greatest trick of all, life and death. You then eventually see the Babadook who looks as if he is dressed like a demon version of a magician himself with his top hat and overcoat. Eventually she goes down to the basement and sees the spirit of her husband where she first saw an outfit displayed on the wall that looked like the Babadook’s attire and scared her. It is here where he asks for her to give him the boy so that they may be together again. Which to me sounds like some kind of dark magic such as a body switching spell. Other hints to this are throughout the story such as in the book where the Babadook explains to let him in and his son constantly telling his mom not to let him in. There is no indication that she had to open the door for the Babadook for it to be allowed to enter the house. It came and went as it pleased. So this must mean to not to let him into the body. This demonstrates that maybe his father was into some darker form of magic and maybe imbued some kind of spell into the book that would allow him to return to this world through soul swapping.

It seems as if her grief over the situation of her husbands death is what caused the book to appear and allow the Babadook to be summoned which could have been the fathers plan all along. As if that spell needed an extra catalyst from the living world in order to execute. She at one point tells the boy she wished it was he that died and not his father. This is further suggested by the ending, it would appear as if she gave her son to the Babadook even if unknowingly, indicating that the fathers spirit is now in the boys body and the boys spirit is now in the Babadook, rather than continue to be hostile it became very docile and even seemed scared and disoriented at his situation… which then runs into the basement to hide and feel protected. The basement being the place the boy loved to be the most. This is probably why she will not let the boy near it or see it in fear that would will recover his body and the father would return to the Babadook seeing as how you cant get rid of the Babadook it has to still exist somewhere. This could be a side effect or curse that comes along with conducting a spell that is so dark. At the end we see the woman and boy enjoying their time together very happily while the boy does more advanced magic tricks than he could ever do before. How did he have time to learn and perfect this new trick? This could indicate a more advanced magician is now in the body, I.E. the father.

Whether I am right or not, you could say that is an interesting way to view the story. And I could be absolutely wrong. But that is exactly how I want to view the story and in that light it strikes me as an absolute masterpiece.

I’m sure I’ve left out some other details that could help justify my thought process and if anyone would like to have a good conversation about it please leave something in the comment section below, I would love to pick your brain on this topic as much as you have mine.

Until then folks take care, because you can’t get rid of the Babadook!


3 thoughts on “Understanding “The Babadook”

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