Spoilers Ahead

The Babadook isn’t a Hollywood monster or spirit that pulls you across the ceiling or sucks you into a strange underworld. He’s a Jungian-type shadow of the darkness inside our own hearts. “If it’s in a word, or it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of the Babadook,” warns the beautiful, simple handmade book Amelia reads to her son Sam in the first few scenes of this much buzzed-about film. The book is familiar, children’s books are often unsettling, introducing to the child, and the parents, a way to talk about the darker parts of life. Of course, often children’s nightmares can be inspired by creepy books, but that doesn’t mean that monsters aren’t important. We need fictional monsters because we have monsters living inside of us.

Sam was born into the world with a grief-stricken and unhinged mother who had no time to take care of herself and find a way to deal with her loss. As a single mom, she has to work long-hours as a caretaker for the elderly, and then come home and dig up love for her difficult son from her scant emotional resources.

They barely have any support system, and Sam’s violence and odd behavior drives away the only family they have. The film oozes with the complicated feelings of a mother and son who both desperately love each other, but are terrified of themselves. Each one is flailing, and cannot hold onto one another without sinking further down. When the Babadook is introduced to them, he’s a place to hang all these repressed feelings and nightmares, all the nauseous terror of love and need.


When it turns out that The Babadook is really Amelia, or that Amelia has become possessed by him, it also seems plausible that Amelia is his creator as well as his puppet. Amelia used to write children’s books, so it makes sense that she used her book-making skills to create the mysterious, haunted object that infiltrates their life. If that’s the case, the second book depicting herself as the monster was also made by her, possibly in an insomniac trance.

Seven-year-old Sam is a difficult child, but his situation is horrific, and has been long before The Babadook manifested itself. He’s just beginning to comprehend his mother’s resentment towards him, and the horrible fact that his father died on the same day of his birth. His obsessions with magic and weapons seem to stem from his intense need to protect himself, and his mother, from the constant threat of their very existence. As the monster grows, Sam himself transforms from a bit of a monster into a helpless child. As the danger increases for him, both the audience and Amelia start to see him more as a doe-eyed helpless child than a symbol of destruction, burden, and loss.

When they are saved from the Babadook’s madness by Sam’s tenderness, a neighbor’s concern and love, and, especially, Amelia’s assertion of power over the malevolent force, the Babadook is still with them. He will never leave, because he is still a part of Amelia. Feeding this creature worms is an acknowledgement for both Amelia and Sam of the terrible things they’ve been through, and the realness of the monster, while symbolically maintaining their control over its presence. Why it has to be worms isn’t clear, but maybe that’s not altogether important.

According to Carl Jung, “To confront a person with his own Shadow is to show him his own light.” Everything isn’t fixed for Amelia and Sam now that they’ve confronted The Babadook, but Amelia is no longer a captive to her darker impulses. She isn’t free, because we are never free of the hell we are capable of creating in our own minds, but she is able to functionally live and love her son again because she has acknowledged, and therefore tamed and diminished, the dark terror of her grief and pain.

Writer/director Jennifer Kent and the Babadook people are actually selling handmade copies of the book.


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  • Marc

    This is greatly explained. I just saw this movie moments ago and I didn’t understand it before reading this (besides the time being 2:56am) Thank you for this πŸ™‚

    • Soumitra Vadnerkar

      Mine is 1:56am πŸ™‚

  • Andreas

    She could have tried meditation.

    • ranjith

      yeah same thoughts here

    • Megan

      The problem is that she completely ignored that part of her. She was even unaware of its existence. She said before, when she spoke to her sister that she had moved on, she didn’t even mention his name. She was in denial, and therefore could not have meditated it away.
      I have heard that the word Baba is often the word children use for father because they can say it easily. Dook is probably the sound of knocking on the door. “Let me in” could be the same as saying acknowledge my existence.
      Feeding Babadook worms is the mother’s way of acknowleging that the anger or hatred is still in the background of her mind.

    • FinnShane

      I have a feeling that if the kid didn’t interrupt the mom’s vibrator scene the Babadook would never have appeared.

  • Aakash Sarkar

    Thank you a lot for this. Without this key to the film you have provided, we really were lost with dook-dook-dook on the door! Thank you for letting us out! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  • Michael

    I think that feeding the monster worms is a bit of a joke. The monster is a projection of her problems, her dead husband being one of them, and being dead he gets to “eat worms”, like the expression. Thought it was kind of funny πŸ™‚

    • CRT

      the bowl of worms is humorous. another way of interpreting it was that both mother and son had finally learned to cope with the grief and love one another. remember how they made the pact to protect one another? in the end, they worked together in “taming” the monster inside the mother – which was grief. in a child’s mind, monster’s eat worms and insects – so in his mind he was keeping the monster at bay and protecting his mommy, while the son’s love and dedication is what truly saved the mother from herself, or…the babadook. her going into the basement at the end was her being able to actually view her late husband’s possessions and confront her grief directly. the sequence shown with the invisible babadook lunging at her and towering over her is symbolic that grief is always going to be there looming over you. it’s up to you to not let it overwhelm and envelope you. the ending depicted that like true depression, you cannot get rid of it. you learn to live with it and nurture it so you can still be a functional human being. so she now regularly visits the memento’sin the basement giving her a healthier way to deal with her grieving process – feeding the monster “worms” and keeping it at bay.

      • CRT

        Also, completely separate from your statement, a lot of people have been insanely confused by the ending after the worms sequence. Like they honestly can’t wrap their heads around the boy performing a competent magic trick. They’re all like THE DOOK DID IT. There is no dook. The dook did not exist, it was a manifestation. I’ve also read “THEY’RE DEAD” They are not dead – the boy’s bruises are there, the mother’s knife wound is healing and the dead dog can be seen under the garden. The magic trick performed at the end turning the coin into a dove is a very common magic trick. There is a compartment up inside of the cover for the tray. While you cover the tray you press down on the handle and it releases the compartment containing the bird, dropping it onto the plate below covering the coin. The movie was not supernatural in the least.

        • RaisinBizzle

          Sure this may be a common trick for magicians, but where did her 7 year old son get a dove? The fact that she so casually accepted the trick I think has deeper meaning. They also intentionally had you and the mom think the trick was over before the son reveals the dove. I believe that the trick does allude to a hint that they are living in some kind of fantasy at the moment that isn’t quite real life and that the babadook is still going to be a negative presence in the future.

          • CRT

            the babadook is 100% always going to be a negative presence. that’s what it was showing when we saw it in the basement. she compartmentalized that part of her emotions and was able to deal with it daily in a healthy manner. the guilt and grief is still there, ready to overtake her at any second she lets it, but she nurtures it and calms it down, properly grieving and letting her dark thoughts dissipate. and the dove can be taken in a literal or metaphorical sense. seeing as how the babadook wasn’t real in the first place and was just the mother’s explanation to her son as to why she acts the way she does, yet at several instances sam act as though he sees it (even though he is just looking at a terrifying version of his mother) however, once the mother recognized all of this and finally confronted it in the bedroom with her son present as a form of catharsis for not only herself but also as a way to permanently resolve the issue for her son. there was no way he would grow up an ounce of normal if he understood his mom was sick and wanted to kill him. so she “banished the monster” so he could actually get over it, thinking it was an actual monster. that brief scene in the bedroom of her confronting the babadook while sam simultaneously sees it in front of them is a shared hallucination between mother and son. there was never a babadook but kid’s have such overactive imaginations they can see what they want to. the whole film the mom ignores the kid as part of her routine abuse, this includes not paying attention to his magic tricks. in the end, when they have worked out their issues and are starting anew, she is finally paying attention to him. they are finally celebrating his birthday ON the day and she is finally appreciating him for who he is. Whether the bird was actually there or not wasn’t the point. It was that she was being fully interactive with her son in a loving manner, the way she never could before.

          • CRT

            in a very short answer: technically the world they live in is a shared fantasy already. one where monsters exist as opposed to mental illnesses.

            do you see what i’m saying? the film isn’t supposed to be taken in a literal manner at face value. it is very metaphorical even when we are seeing things with our own eyes.
            “things are not always as they seem.”

          • juststeph

            I think the ending was the way that Samuel saw it. His mother was amazed by his trick, and everything about his party was just perfect. The scenery was bright, everything was okay for Sam because he finally felt safe and loved.

  • wade

    I acknowledge that the film was well done but was very disappointed with it. I probably should not have read the reviews first.

  • Mick D Trice

    The dead husband possessed the boy. Now the boy is the dook.

  • Jamie Vahos Floyd

    But killing the poor doggy. =( That made me cry..

  • Marisa Cohen

    “nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m gonna eat some worms” …… But really, did the dog have to die?

    • Joseph Tovar

      Wow, the symbolism of loss and pent up grief is completely over your head, isn’t it?

      • Marisa Cohen

        no, I just wasn’t impressed, but thanks for checking in.

        • Joseph Tovar

          M6 statement stands

          • “You’re just not deep enough to understand X like I do.” – nice, astute Joseph Tovar.

          • Joseph Tovar

            It’s not that deep, bro

        • shaunvis

          That’s the typical response. If you didn’t like this piece of crap, then “it was over your head”.

          Because it’s sooooooooo complicated and hard to follow. LMAO!

          • Sophie Argent

            Well, it is rather difficult for someone like you. But thanks for the predictable anti-intellectualism butt-hurtery. Cause we don’t get enough of that on the internets.

          • Miss Y

            I don’t think “The Babadook” was anything close to intellectualism – LOL

    • Sarah Marchington

      I completely agree.. Totally unnecessary to put in a scene with her killing the dog. I find it offensive and will often ruin a good movie. Definitely could have done without that part.

      • Krenare oifjr

        I find it good that it happened because it makes the movie unpredictable. Why watch a horror movie if you find that offensive.. Horror movies are supposed to be disturbing, if this is that disturbing to you then you really shouldn’t be watching horror movies?

        • Sarah Marchington

          Nah, you really shouldn’t be on here to tell me if you think I should or should not be watching horror movies based on a scene that involves an animal. There are so many good horror movies out there without the need of an animal sacrifice. There is just no need and if the talent is there the movie can do without it. So please, instead of trying to instigate your shit online, just think…… Your comment is unnecessary! Hope you can find a way to give a more thoughtful and mature comment next time! Thanks!

          • Scottie McCarthy

            He’s right though. Who cares if the dog dies, it’s a freaking movie none of it is real. It’s pretty lame that you watched a horror movie and a dog died and now you’re on here telling people how offensive you find it, don’t you think?
            It’s only a movie, you should be able to go crazy and use your imagination with movies that’s the beauty of them. And if you weren’t cool enough already you had to add “Hope you can find a way to give a more thoughtful and mature comment next time! Thanks!”
            I bet you think you’re real smart lol.

          • Sarah Marchington

            Haha I do not think that way at all. I appreciate the comment and I have the right to express myself to I was simply answering the other lady that did not like it either but I’m sorry you all really have to stop taking things to a personal level with your comments. You need to stick with the movie not tell other people on this what they should and should not do with thier life, I personally find it immature and extremely unnecessary. It simply could have been a comment such as “i find its good that it happened because blah blah blah ” and not try to come at me personally just like you, sir are doing right now. Stick to the movie comment and stop trying to make the person behind the computer feel inferior to you all based on a comment that was simply an opinion. I liked the movie but i could do without the dog. Do you get what im trying to say scott?

          • Scottie McCarthy

            No, because it’s stupid. Krenare wasn’t trying to instigate what he said was true. You shouldn’t be offended by something like that, especailly in a horror movie, it’s kinda what you sign up for when you choose to watch it, disturbing, dark things. I’m sure I love cute puppies just as much as you, I don’t feel offended.
            People die and get murdered in movies but wait people get murdered in real life too so we probabaly shouldn’t be encouraging that either, right? stfu Its just an effing movie. If everything that was “a real problem in this world” had to be taken into account during the making of a movie, there wouldn’t be any good new movies to watch because we would have people like you getting offended every two seconds and trying to be all righteous about it talking about how we should lead by example. Who gives a shit, If a kid or other person watches this movie and then feels it’s okay to go and hurt animals then you’re probably fucked in the head to begin with. If you can’t tell the difference between right and wrong than don’t watch this kinda shit. People like you ruin it for others by setting boundaries where they do not belong. #hatetobeyou

          • Sarah Marchington

            Well that’s just it, people are fucked in the head and thats the world for you. Even you trying to get my blood boiling with your comments its just completely unnecessary. The minute you direct something to the person watching instead of the movie then its not necessary. This movie is not like other slasher movies its more tasteful and personally it could have done without the animal. Just remember that animals have no voice when it comes to humans so don’t compare human slaughter to animal slaughter. Its a shame you took it o the next level but i stand by my argument and i’m sick of you all not getting the point. To sum up, try and debate about the movie, it has nothing to do with me as a person and quite frankly im sad for people like you who make assumptions about others. You all need to FUCKING CHILL. Hahahaha wow. Have a great day!

          • Scottie McCarthy

            It’s you that don’t get the point lady. I completely understand where you’re coming from but clearly you have no idea what I’m trying to say because you just look at it as a personal attack. People think just because it’s their opinion they can’t be wrong about something or people shouldn’t call them out because it’s just an opinion. Well MY opinion is that you are completely wrong in the way you think, and I have the right to totally express how I feel, no matter if you think it’s unnecessary or not. You get offended with a dog dying in a movie and now you get offended because somebody has disagreed on what you have to say, I hate people like you. People that feel they can NEVER be offended. Being offended is a choice that you make. You CHOOSE to be offended. The world isn’t always unicorns and butterflies and you have to face that instead of getting offended every two seconds about every little thing.
            My point was people like you ruin types of creativity because you help set boundaries where they do no belong. Why is that so hard to understand? I never made any assumptions about you, you were the one that said a good movie can be ruined by something like a dog dying and I’m here to tell you that is fucking ridiculous. We live in a world where we have to watch what we say or what we put on tv because we have to think about people like you that might take offense to things. Well nobody gives a damn that you’re offended, suck it up princess. Do you not see how lame it is that you’re here talking about how animals don’t have voices so don’t compare animal slaughter to human slaughter? It’s a fucking movie fucking DEAL with it and if you can’t then don’t go around ruining it for other people. Everyone get’s your point it’s just nobody else is offended by it because it’s fucking stupid.

          • Pete the plant

            Scottie, you’re a fucking cunt. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I love horror movies and even though I know it’s fake, I also can’t bear to watch dog’s getting killed. So how about you tone down and stop writing complete essays when someone speaks their mind, fucking kid. My god people like YOU are what’s wrong with this world. You go all out on someone who obviously has a love for animals/dogs and then tell the same person he’s gonna influence the next generation in a bad way?

            Overweight kids like you just piss me off to no end, you have serious issues. Have a nice day, bellend.

          • Braun Amore

            Never go to China, never.

          • MikeX

            It’s hard to talk about right and wrong nowadays, since there are millions of wackos who think there isn’t such a thing.

            Unless somebody wrongs them personally, of course..

          • Sarah Marchington

            Also I just want to mention is that with movies that have animal cruelty or sacrifice for “shock” and “disturb” value is really not something that should be encouraged as it is a real problem in this world, we mistreat the animals and showing this kind of thing in a movie is no way to lead by example. It should just stick to human on human but thats my opinion… So don’t go telling me that I’m stupid because I think that way, it should more be a constructive comment. We all need to learn how to treat one another with respect!

          • Nick Fane

            I have two reasons as to why they killed the dog.

            1. Nothing makes you hate a character more than having it kill a dog, so it was a way to make the audience detest what the Babadook did to Amelia to the utmost.

            2. The “updated” book showed Amelia killing the dog, then her son, then herself. So when she kills the dog, it provides a reason to lead the audience to think she’s going to do the latter two. It was also a way to show that there was a victim to the Babadook without the complication of leaving the house, which could have easily gotten other entities involved. For instance, if she killed her neighbor, people may have thought, “Where are the police if a loud and violent murder took place.” The dog was a tool to the plot.

            Don’t get me wrong, watching the dog die was easily the least enjoyable and most uncomfortable scene in the movie. But that’s what it was trying to do. It’s successful in that.

            And, honestly, no one is watching this scene as a positive example that it’s okay to harm animals. It’s clear that the movie paints it negatively, considering it’s the “monster” that does it. I don’t think this is a prime example of people learning how to act through the media. I feel you may be looking into it a little too far.

          • MikeX

            You think killing a dog is the worst thing there can be? What about people getting killed, or a film about the holocaust? I hope you aren’t really this pathetic..

          • Nick Fane

            To a lot of people, there’s more of an emotional response to animals being harmed than people. However, I was using a common phrase. “Nothing’s worse than stepping in a puddle on your way to work.” Of course there is, it’s just an expression of hyperbole. I don’t think this is anywhere near grounds to call me “pathetic”.

          • MikeX

            5 month old comment, and you reply in less than 5 minutes lol

          • Nick Fane

            Yeah, that’s how instant email notifications work, buddy. Don’t worry, this is definitely the last time I’ll reply to you. You don’t seem to have anything to offer me.

          • MikeX

            I’m glad you like keeping up on this comment section so religiously. It’s good you enjoy it.

          • Ann

            Well aren’t you doing the same thing?

          • no

            Damn dude go take care of those blue balls you got or something. Quit being a faggot just to be a faggot.

          • “Delete”

          • Kestrel


          • Krenare oifjr

            I understand what you’re trying to say but I don’t agree since things like this don’t happen often in movies, horror movies are supposed to be unpredictable you know, so even if it was scary when she killed the dog it made you more excited ( well it made me excited ), I got so scared because I thought she was going to kill the kid too so that’s why I find it good that the dog died in it, it made you wonder, oh is the kid going to die now too? and so it was unpredictable, that’s what I think horror movies must have, unpredictable things, that’s what make them really scary.
            I liked the movie too a lot as well, was a bit funny too sometimes

          • Holee Cheesus

            But then again, was not your comment also unnecessary? And you do not have to be offensive.

          • SHourigan

            Wow. Krenare is right, if this bothers you to that extent you might not want to watch horror movies. Also, the fact that you seem legitimately offended by that suggestion just makes it seem that much more like one you might want to listen to.

        • Sarah Marchington

          Oh but don’t get me wrong I liked the movie a lot.

        • Suzie

          What about ‘A Bad Book’?

    • Christina

      From my standpoint, dogs have always symbolism loyalty. And Amelia has been loyal to her husband for 7 years, not searching for a new husband. The killing of the dog might be a look at her breaking the loyalty that bound her to her husband. After the dog dies, event conspire to make her better again. That’s just my opinion though x.x

      • Potato

        Or the director just wanted her to kill the dog for shits and giggles.

        • Nik

          Not all directors are as shallow as you have been buried under, potato.

        • Ash

          Did you not notice that the black rose was growing right on top of the buried dog?

          • AltMusicLuvr

            I noticed the black rose, but not that that was where the dog was buried.

          • Lynne

            Great insight…never noticed.

        • I for one agree. Having wasted four years of my life studying film production I can honestly attest that many directors see killing the family pet as a fast track to unsettling the audience. Pet-horror is the new body-horror.

      • That’s a reach. It’s probably more likely that film makers know ‘killing the dog’ will always his a chord with the audience and upset and thus unsettle them. Which is why dogs are killed in more films where no humans or other death is depicted more than anything else. Also by your logic you’re saying her dead husband was a dog. Or is it just that all men are dogs? Osnap, your true colors are leaking through there! Do I smell a bit of misandry? :O Just messing with you. Seriously though; you’re definitely over analysing an element that seems quite clear from the directors notes to unsettle the audience and make them more receptive to the rest of the story. If you take the dog dying or a few other scenes out the film has a very lackluster vibe. Speaking of vibes that’s one scene I never wanted to see. Urgh.

        • Shih Yang

          Nope, she’s saying the dog symbolizes her loyalty to her dead husband, so she would be the dog. And why would equating people to dog be an insult for said people? Do I smell a bit of speciesm?

        • TheSplund

          Great/good films that have been marred by unpleasant dog deaths for me : Tyrannasaur, The Lobster. However, Marley and Me is just an unpleasant film πŸ˜‰

      • Did no one notice it was a BLACK dog? >_> Wait, was it a black dog? I’m just taking a guess now because that would be so predictable that it ‘symbolizes depression’ wankitywank.

        • The dog was pure white.

          • Veena Chandran

            Ivory I say

        • Lynne

          Get over your own hate & lolz-sad stop involving a innocent species devoid of the inhumanity & idioacy of prejudice.

      • Lynne


    • shaunvis

      Always loved that tune, lol.

      And I love the people defending this flick because “they get it”. Like it’s some big mystery and not a blindingly obvious plot form the beginning.

      – Woman has a kid so fucking annoying he drives her nuts and she tries to kill him. THE END

      • Please

        I also love the fact that some people try to act smart but that its blindingly obvious that they are just making a fool out of themselves.

        • There are so many passive aggressive bitches here it’s hilarious. Seriously; you need to get laid. There’s something heinously wrong with you.

      • Rene Arizona Craig

        Quite Shallow of you and is a perfect example of what is wrong with society

        • Yeah, if there’s one thing humans are known for it’s NOT for overthinking things to the point of imagining up entire religions to explain simple things that then go on a warlike killing spree across the world for thousands of years. Humans are so unimaginative man. Society these days. You were just born in the wrong generation bro. If we were all as deep as you …

          • Sophie Argent

            Jesus, calm down. Talk about hyperbole. The movie is better than you give it credit for, and yes, it is primarily because you are a bit of a simpleton. Just relax and become one with your second-rate mind.

          • Miss Y

            Anyone who disagrees with me is a simpleton with a second-rate mind, right?

          • Sophie Argent

            And it’s hilarious that you are blaming war and religion on OVER-thinking and not UNDER-thinking. Oh, and you’re blaming creative imagination as well. LOL!

      • The kid is absolutely insufferable. I found myself feeling no empathy for the characters because they’re just so annoying. She is the most hideous looking creature on Earth, she literally doesn’t even lift a finger to try and do herself any help and seems to think that’s a fashion statement in and of itself. And he, oh god he, I literally swore that I will never have kids after watching that little jerk’s behaviour just in case. I mean what if you had a kid like that?! And once it’s born it’s illegal to abort it. If abortion was legal up until 21 years of age the worlds collective behaviour would sharply improve.

        • EstocZero

          or, you know, maybe she doesn’t care about her appearance at this point? I mean, she has to deal with a troubled kid, work long hours at a frustrating job, and due to her kid’s weird and violent behavior, nobody WANTS to help her. You can’t really fault her for not looking her Sunday finest.

        • baloney132xxx


    • That was just reel, he continues living a very happy real life!

  • Tyler Jaynes

    I’m thinking the worms represent the….necrosis of Amelias heart. Her constant fear, and disdain she feels.
    So she’ll never be rid of it, she’ll never be rid of “The Babadook”, she’ll always feel those feelings. So it’s her job to “accept it” and “allow it to live” while remaining in control of it, and not letting it spiral again.
    She had a hard time accepting her fate, and dealing with the emotions. And she learned you can never purge the darkness, and you certainly can’t suffocate it until it goes away.
    You feel what you feel. But you learn to live with it, and accept it. And to not let it control you, because there’s people who love you who depend on you, and need you. So you keep going.

    • Christopher Schollar

      I know this is an ooold post, but I just watched this movie last night and I like the idea of the necrosis that the worms represent. I just wanted to expand a bit.

      I think there is a reason why it is the son who finds the worms and gives them to Amelia. Remembering that the babadook is a representation of her resentment of her son and her life. Maybe the worms are those thoughts and feelings that the son is constantly “digging up” that “feed” the babadook/depression. Otherwise I am totally in agreement, she now deals with those emotions and keeps the babadook in check.

  • Vic Edgehead

    Superb explanation. Thank you, you’re a star.

  • Thanatos

    Good explanation. The worms and dirt represent symbolically the sheer physical fact of her husband’s death; a fact that she won’t permit to enter awareness. Feeding the demon these two symbols of death represents the psychic ritual of opening to, welcoming, and nourishing the shadow generated by repressed grief. Only through fully experiencing this grief and pain does healing begin and a reintegration of the shadow occur. The first step in the process occurred when she was on the bed and asked the babadook “what do you want from us?”

  • Stephen

    Found your explanation wonderful. I was looking at this film through the wrong lens when it was completed and now that I’m analyzing it through one that approaches the film as more of a drama about family & grief, less a horror flick, it’s quite compelling and original. Thanks for connecting the dots I could not.

    • What lens were you using? Was it an XL series?

  • Robert0

    As good an analysis as I’ve seen. Like “Repulsion,” this is far more psychological study than horror film, far more symbolism than story. Very well done. To me, the worms represent something that comes forth from the garden. Having vomited up the blackness inside (“better out than in” as the British say), having finally come back in touch for her love and protectiveness toward Sam, she has faced down the Babadook (“Baba” can mean “father” in some Indo-European languages) and may live in the sun again (her garden). But it is from this same garden that the worms are procured; even the sunlight feeds and defines the shadow.

    • Hop Deli fo lyfe

      Repulsion was the first film that came to mind after watching this flick. great connection. i completely agree

  • Aaron

    The basement, where she hid memories of her husband, was constantly locked. Amelia suppressed those feelings of hate and sadness. They were eventually released and manifested itself as the Babadook. The Babadook’s clothes were her husband’s and under the clothes, the Babadook appeared as her husband. Suppressing the darkness will eventually lead to being overwhelmed by it. The basement can symbolize the grave, where we want things to be dead and buried. But these dark feelings (like depression) never really go away. They can never die. Thus, rather than the worms feeding on the Babadook, the Babadook feeds on the worms. Amelia cannot simply lock the door to her basement again and never again think about it. The Babadook will always be there.

    • Christian Griffen

      You just triggered the light bulb over my head. “When you see what’s underneath you’d wish you were dead” — not because it’s so scary but because she wishes to be with her dead husband and couldn’t let go!

      • This is getting into the realms of bible code prophecy predictions mate. Calm the fuck down son.

  • Latest

    spot on. i was talking to a friend of mine about this film and it’s moral, he then sent me this link and you took the words out of my mouth! great film, everyone is slowly talking about it.

  • bunkiedabunk

    I just wanted to see if someone had any ideas on a deeper meaning behind the whole tooth ache thing, but seriously. this movie isn’t deep. its really painfully obvious with the symbolism. everyone here is just jerking themselves off thinking that they’re so smart for decifering this amazing plot line.

    • And you’re jerking yourself off by announcing to everyone here that you think we’re stupid.

      • Dhz30

        Ooh snap.

    • paul fakler

      She is reaching inside herself to pull out the demon, but all that comes out is more of herself, obviously.

      BTW, That’s why it is a masterpiece. The symbolism is great, and people who know very little of psychology, like myself, can figure it out as the story unfolds. If you are expecting a supernatural horror flick, you need to be shocked out of that mode at some point and have your view of what is happening completely reversed. You stop suspending belief in the supernatural. Once that happens instead of disregarding every clue that the mother is scitzo — it is confirmed, over and over again. This builds up suspense for what will happen to the son.

  • Shannon Rhodes

    From the Pink Floyd lyric, ‘and the worms ate into his brain.’ Burrowing worms were used by the ancient Greeks to symbolize knowledge and understanding, which is a rather nice fit all-in-all.

    • In the words of Aradeezi Ferti, “If the elephant is not square do not window.” Squares were used by ancient Hindu’s to symbolize banana, which is sheep all-in-all.

  • leannael

    Whoa. Genius. Thanks for this.

  • Mitchell Davis

    Wow! How do you explain all the supernatural events that the mother and son seemed to both be experiencing?

    • juststeph

      To me the mother was absolutely in the midst of psychosis. Seeing bugs crawl out of things, hearing bangs on the door, seeing faces in windows, flickering lights- all very common with psychosis. As for Samuel, I think he is seeing her terrible behavior as the Babadook. It would be less terrifying for a child to have a monster attacking them then to see the truth, that their mother has pent up hatred towards them.

      • Onslaught

        It’s an old post but i will give it a try for i long for an explanation on this topic: Yeah, supernatural events can be triggered by mind if you are in the midst of psychosis but how can you explain that black “thing” that she vomited?

        • juststeph

          I thought that was Samuel’s imagination. Part of how he was coping with the abuse of his mother. He saw it as her being possessed , something evil was inside of her. So he saw her vomit out the evil , but it never really happened. I don’t know just my thoughts.

  • Aggie ’14 Pk2

    As a side note, did y’all noticed that the representation of the monster was always the husband? Also, she seem to keep his memories on that basement, so it points to reason that it would become the house of that anger.
    I was feeling let down by the movie, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. It’s interesting to see how the author gave it a realistic spin and the line btw paranormal and real is blended.

  • Ugo Strange

    Your comments are spot on, I’ve come to the same conclusion that The Babadook was a product of Amelia’s own creation, our opinions varied from there. Kudos for using Jung. I consider myself a Jungian but I didn’t see this movie through a Jungian lense, funny.

  • Andrew Singleton

    Seems obvious to me. Sam mentions his dad is in a cemetery and the babadook is a manifestation of grief or mourning. Feeding it worms represents the mother’s process of moving through her grief (worms are the Kings of decomposition and composting) by feeding her grief and every day moving past her husband’s death to shake her depression. Sam is the one who finds the worms to feed the babadook, so I don’t think it’s inside either of them at the end of the movie. Sam produces a real dove at the end, possibly symbolizing a peace offering to their combined confusion and grief and a platform from which to launch their new life together.

    • 2deep4me

    • Raeann Thomas

      That was my thought. The worms transform the blackness, the rot, the smelly, nasty stuff in our hearts, into something from which beauty can grow.

    • Bugg

      Worms can also represent loss of control; or a sense of unpredictability. I think that may fit in there somewhere, as well. By feeding it worms they are taking some measure of control.

  • Blue_n_Orange

    Unscrambled: The Da-da Book

    • Jayo Lawlor

      Only one D, there are 2 B’s but that would have been cool

      • Kendall

        Yes, but your issues arent with counting, just spelling.

        • He wants more D.

          • ThorsTheTroll

            You really come off as a douchebag in these comments, you know that?

          • I care.

    • Debra Taylor

      If you unscramble it. It’s badbook

      • williamwingate

        Using all the letters it’s “a bad book”.

        • Debra Taylor

          Yes your right. ????

          • How do you feel that two complete strangers came upwith anagrams and the best you could do was paraphrase the first persons comment then agree with the second? Also everyone seems to be forgetting that the title is ‘THE Babadook.’

          • Debra Taylor

            No idiot! The first person said quote “unscrambled it’s da da book”. Then I replied to Blue and orange. quote “if you unscramble it it’s a bad book”.
            I then received a reply back from William Wingate: quote “using all the words it’s a bad book”.
            I was trying to be kind and not say that’s what I just said, he repeated what I SAID you moron. Lol god you must feel so stupid!!
            Haha haha omg some people.
            That’s what the Arthur was going for. Bad book. But you probably didn’t get that either and still don’t have a clue as to why. Geesh some people are rude and ignorant.

  • J.Morbuz

    can’t we have horror without the need for a “deeper side of things”?… i mean… it was a good movie and all, but damn!… having to look up the meaning of the ending and shit just doesn’t seem that attractive haha… i used to like the concept of monsters being real and being bad just because they liked to do bad shit… now even monsters are fucking hipsters.

    • Monsters are always symbolic. Bad isn’t just bad all by itself, it has to have perspective and meaning. Why do they like to do bad shit? Why do we consider them bad? Because they’re killing and scaring us, but that’s just from our point of view. Maybe we’re the bad ones. Aren’t we monsters to each other, to animals that we eat?

      I also didn’t realize that thinking was “hipster.”

  • Amanda N Juan

    Am I the only one who thinks that the mother is actually the Babadook pretending to be a mom in order to finally have Sam to its self ( the Babadook ), and the angry spirit that dwells in the based is the trapped soul of the mother? Anyone, anyone at all?

    • EllenEsq

      Actually, Amanda, I read a better explanation that I like more. The Babadook in the basement is the trapped soul of Sam. Sam’s father’s spirit occupies Sam’s body. Sam told the mom not to touch the Babadook, and it races to the basement afterwards. There’s something weird that happens in between her touching it and it going to the basement. Immediately thereafter, it goes to a garden scene where Sam appears wholly normal and does magic tricks more reminiscent of the father, beyond what a child should be able to do. Mom doesn’t want Sam coming in the house then, because they’re worried that violent spirit Sam would re-take the body. Or something like that.

  • Christian

    I viewed the monster for the withheld anger and grief she never expressed — as well as unresolved fear — that consumes her. The love of others helps her keep from losing herself completely and she fights her way back. When she goes to the basement to feed the beast worms (symbolic of death), and the anger tries to grab her once more, she doesn’t let it. But it has made its statement that it will always be with her.

  • Hhotelconsult

    (this is assembled from other internet people’s thoughts): In Australia, depression is known as the “black dog”. The shot where they show the buried dog, then the worms… which break down things, IE it’s breaking down the depression, IE she’s feeding the babadook worms as a way to break down the grief that plagues her by spending more time with the dark/depressed side of herself by dealing with not allowing that grief to control her whole life, but compartmentalize it and deal with it slowly over time….

  • Baho Puwetmoh

    I always thought the worms were sort of symbolic. Sam’s father died, and worms eat corpses. Thus, by feeding worms to the Babadook, they were symbolically coming to terms with the loss of Sam’s father, and facilitating his spiritual passing.

  • Swagesher Yolom

    Wow didnt even read this article, The site is Ad filled and video ad never ends. Ridiculous. Will not recommend site

  • William Koepke

    Yeah but she still killed the dog…

  • jessi price

    This is an incredible article, thank you and very well done!

  • paul fakler

    The worms eat the dead. They must feed the Babadook worms so that the worms can symbolically eat him up and keep him under control. The Babadook’s form is the father, and he died so that the son could live — therefore the father must remain dead so that the son can live — hence the worms.

    BTW, just saw the movie. I was into the horror atmosphere of the film — when I saw the patched together Mr. Babadook book. When I saw the Babadook becoming the mother, I flashed back on the fact that the mother was an unpublished chlldren’s book author — and was instantly catapulted out of suspending disbelief in the supernatural, and entirely engrossed in the suspense of a psychological thriller!

    The transformation of the mother from a functional scitzo, to non-functional, and back to functional, all in the guise of a horror film was breathtaking. Made me wonder what would happen when winter comes and they can’t dig up any worms.

  • Kurt Barlow

    What’s red and bad for your teeth?

    A brick.

    Now shut the fuck up. No tirades about your feelings or offenses or such. Why does it always have to come down to this shit? Is social media and cell phones making everyone so fucking dysfunctional and disconnected in real life that no one has time to speak their mind aloud anymore? Or they’re too chickenshit? No one listens to you so you give your two cents worth everywhere you can like some 2 bit psychiatrist? Please save your bullshit, no one wants to listen to it in real life and guess what? No one hear gives a fuck about you either. Least of all in a movie discussion post. So if it don’t pertain to the movie your opinions or theories of such shut your fucking browser or go on a rant elsewhere, no one wants to filter your garbage out manually anymore you fucktards.
    As a thriller I liked this one, but as a horror film it was a little lacking. There really is no defining criteria to make the classification into the horror realm only ambiguity and suggestion. never any solid fact that the Babadook exists physically or metaphysically. Which doesn’t work as a horror element for me as a psychological thriller then yes. All the signs point towards self discovery. Denial discovery conflict acceptance coping and healing. You can never kill your demons or impulses but to can feed them a little from time to time to keep them satisfied and sleeping. That’s what I took from it. Good show just not what I consider horror.

  • CrowGuillotine

    good explanation ty

  • Mseevers95

    Honestly after just 20 minutes of this movie I wanted both characters to die.

  • Sonorita Lopez

    Top 10 Dreams and Nightmare Explained :

    Common Nightmares…..,

    • Thanks for wasting my time – I thought this was going to be a REAL video outlining the psychology or psychiatric implications of fears and nightmares, not some stupid superstitious dream interpretation wank. This is just one of those idiotic women’s magazine article type videos, some ignorant video makers interpretation of dream elements. Ridiculous. Educate yourself fool. Since the 1960’s James Randi’s JREF has been offering $1,000,000 to anyone who can prove ANYTHING remotely supernatural no matter how small – if consistency of signs or omens were provable someone would have collected that million day one.

      • Sophie Argent

        Hahahahahah – can’t believe you’re pulling the James Randi shit out – doe people still do that? Hasn’t it already been established that since HE is the one who determines something is supernatural or not, he’ll NEVER pay out – and that he doesn’t actually have the money? Think about it, for this experiment to have any validity, he’d have to hand over the money to an objective panel or jury. No one can collect. It’s rigged.

  • Rene Arizona Craig

    I just watched that last night. Great Movie. For once I was actually scared. And I am an old grandmother. This was a very thorough explanation and I think the author has made some very accurate acknowledgments of what the storyteller was intending to convey. Well done πŸ™‚

  • Mike Popowich

    Can someone explain why she kept rubbing her tooth and eventually pulled it out?

    • Eggialpha

      Like her denial of her depression, she has a rotting tooth that aches and hurts and is slowly decaying and infecting her. She doesn’t do anything about it. I think it’s another symbol of how she denies herself help because she refuses to admit there is something wrong.

  • Heather

    Remember that Amelia refuses to confront and accept the death of her husband and the changes it brought. Remember also that the book says “the more you deny, the stronger I get”. Amelia’s denial of her husband’s death, her subversion of her own grief, resentment and therefore guilt regarding her son’s existence and the manner in which it manifested are The Babadook. The more she subverts these feelings, the less she is actually confronting and working throught them and the greater the feelings actually become. You cannot ignore the (insert metaphor here) the monster under the bed, the skeleton in the closet, or the elephant in the room.

    The Babadook is tellingly confined to the basement in which Amelia’s fragile shrine to her husband Oskar exists. That the Babadook also takes on the appearance of Oskar is also no accident; in her tenuous mental state, she is seeking validation to destroy the source of her resentment: Sam. What The Babadook knows, of course, is that her doing so will only make it stronger, as it will create a new opportunity for Amelia’s degradation and despair.

    You can never get rid of The Babadook. You can never wake up after losing your husband and have him magically reappear. You can never change the fact that essentially, your husband died in an act meant to ensure that the son would live. The Babadook’s relegation to the basement is symbolic of Amelia’s nascent mastery of her loss, grief, and resentment. The feeding of worms is not coincidental, nor is it random. Worms are the domain of death; likewise, they are full-cycle creatures: they consume dead matter around them, then excrete to feed their environment. Feeding the Babadook worms is symbolic of Amelia’s small, voluntary concession to her loss, grief, and resentment: she is acknowledging that these things have happened and that they are unchangeable. The worms are this acknowledgement. In order for appropriate healing to occur in a time of immense grief, the griever must acknowledge that the grief is a part of him or herself, but it does not control them.

  • John Best

    See, I think that she’s still gonna kill Sam and herself. Cliff hanger type ending.

  • Fadeddreams5 .

    People can discuss and debate the psychological implications of every single scene of this movie, but that won’t make it any less horrifically overrated for me. The concept is brilliant, but the execution was pretty piss poor. Horror movies tend to leave you spooked or pondering over the symbolism behind the story, but this one left me questioning why it has insanely high scores that are simply unmerited.

    I feel they could have done a much better job bridging the gap between psychological and physical. The kid is quite literally dragged around by a phantom; the mother literally spits out black blood, implying this Babapoop thing was actually inside her; and someone literally leaves the second book by this woman’s house (unless she’s blind or completely nuts by this point). Also, both the mom and the son seem to be seeing the same thing at the end: a cheesy monster with a generic t-rex roar–this moment seemed straight out of a Stephen King flick. All of this clashes with the notion that the Babadook is a mentally-constructed being formed out of the mother’s grievance.

    But that aside, the kid was unbearable. Yes, perhaps the intention was to have the audience sympathize with the mother, but there are other ways to do this than to make us cringe due to poor acting; this completely took me out of the movie and annoyed the living Babadook out of me.

    Lastly, the dog didn’t have to die. I don’t say that out of sorrow over the cruel death of an animal, but because… he really didn’t need to die at all. He didn’t do anything! It’s like they just put that in there because… “lookie lookie, we foreshadowed this! GOT JOO! LOL.”

    • Dhz30

      Agreed on the generic “T-Rex roar”.. I was baffled by the decision to throw such an overused sound clip into that scene. Disagree with the rest of your opinions on the film, as I thought it was quite good, but kudos for pointing that out.

    • Daniel Taylor

      No the dog was killed to increase the belief that she was going end up killing her son … it was portrayed in the second book.

  • Shimon Ben LouLou

    She vomited black bile. Depression in people is related to an imbalance of black bile. When she puked it out she gained control of herself.

    • Hop Deli fo lyfe

      she vomited INK not black bile. because she is the author of the book

  • Sophie Argent

    Fantastic analysis, Lynn. Sadly, films like this inspire hostile and paranoid reactions from the child-like. How anyone couldn’t have compassion for this mother is beyond me.

  • baloney132xxx

    the babadook eats worms because its a BIRD he squarks like one, his “hands” resemble feathers and at the end o the second book it says when you take of my mask aka the human face that he has aka the body he posesses you will see who he is and it shows something strikingly alike to the form of a blackbird your welcome πŸ˜‰

  • Rick N

    im not from US or australia i dont know what worms means

  • Stinky Fingerbang

    Nice review and analysis of this fine film. Thank you.

  • Bloody Macbeth

    I would of fed that annoying kid to the babadook. Seriously. The casting advert must of read: Annoying child wanted $$

  • Totally got it. Just saw this. The Babadook is grief and is a predominante force in the everyday life of Amelia and Sam. They both become so grief stricken they begin to ignore their own well beings and their psychy deterrioriate. They take their grief out on one another all the while this grief is recognized by the neighbor who seems to know what they are going through. The basement is avoided because it holds all the earthly memorable items of the dead husband. Sam recognizes and blames his fathers death for his mother not loving him and vandalizes the photograph of the two. In the end the two come to terms with it by finally helping each other out of the pit of grief. The grief is locked away in the basement with the earthly items of the dead husband but Amelia goes down there daily to get her daily dose of reality but now emerges in total control after momentarily losing it. The worms she feeds the Babadook or grief represents a festering negativity that Sam has but is released daily much like Amelias is. The death of the dog well that was a killing of innocence and further damaging relationships like when Sam pushed his cousin from the tree house. The dog really didnt have to die, that was the writer being a dick.

    • Daniel Taylor

      By killing the dog it leads us to increasing the belief that she will go on to kill her son.

  • FinnShane

    I don’t care if she feels back to normal; after strangling her dog and terrorizing her son Amelia belongs in a mental hospital.

    • Sarge

      I don’t think anyone would disagree with you. In fact this makes the ending terrifying because the child is lulled into a false sense of security even though the abuse is likely to start all over again. And remember, the TV news report that the mother imagines says she kills him days AFTER his 7th birthday, not before.

    • Kevin McDaniel

      She just might be… Doesn’t anyone else think it’s weird that Samuel can turn a coin into a live dove in the last scene? He’s seven years old. How about the child services officials meekly accepting Amelia’s parenting even though Samuel later shows us the bruises on his neck? Something tells me those last few scenes might be a few steps removed from reality.

  • rilakkumaisbae

    That movie was totally talking about depression for the entire time.

  • IPIay .

    From what I just read this movie sounds like horseshit.

  • TheBigGuy

    This is what they call good nowadays? This movie stunk.

  • dannyR

    This would be a fine analysis if the kid hadn’t been dragged rather telekinetically up the stairs. Nope. It’s a real monster, and she realizes she has to feed the thing in the basement periodically to keep it placated.

    The real psycho-terror movies dwell in places like the Bates hotel. There’s no cheating: Norman is inhabited by a delusion of his own mother. Directors and writers can’t scare you one way and infer it’s all metaphor, and Jungian archetypes, in the characters’ heads another.

    • I view all monsters and paranormal or telekinetic elements in horror films as allegories for our fears, pain, sadness, compulsions to harm and confusion. It’s all psychological and symbolic. Ghost stories and other supernatural stories, whether they be about gods or haunts. have always to deal with the painful confusion of our world, and the emotional turmoil of the human condition, which is a state of loving, longing, and loss.

  • TheSplund

    TBH I found the child so annoying (‘Sam is a difficult child’ – total brat who deserved to be eaten by something like a Babadook, if it actaully existed) that it spoilt the film for me and I turned it off earl. Hunted around the web to find a synopsis that confirmed my guess at the plot/reason/etc – found this good discussion

  • Abe

    Well, after watching The Babadook, I’ve come to understand and appreciate the deep philosophical meaning behind it. A very beautiful and touching movie, one with depth and understanding for the real world and our situations. “we need fictional monsters because we have monsters living inside of us,” such a wonderful, yet tragic quote to summarize the entirety of this manifestation that is, The Babadook.
    oh, and I’m glad that Mrs. Roach didn’t die.

  • Hop Deli fo lyfe

    white people only care that a dog died

  • Konata Hemiji

    This is pretty great view point for those who have trouble understanding mental health