Yey! One of the best parts of Blogtober for me: FGF – my opportunity to pay lip service to my favourite women in horror.
I’m kicking off 2019’s FGF season with someone a little different from the girls before her. No less gorgeous, obviously but with a different sort of strength and resilience. Definitely a very relatable strength anyway. Amelia is a little older, less overtly glamorous than her counterparts and is a widowed single mother which already makes her kind of a hero, let’s face it – and not unlike my own old ma (in the latter respect at least, guess that’s why I feel for her so much).
I should say I have argued with a fair number of people about the ending of this movie – I think it’s perfect and they don’t – but this film means a great deal to me and our central characters, Amelia and her oddball son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) are a massive part of that.
Welcome to Final Girl Friday 2019!
Amelia’s husband Oskar was killed in a tragic car accident on the way to the hospital, Amelia in labour with Samuel. Six years later, she is clearly still suffering from PTSD and although she is doing her fucking best, poor Samuel has definite issues of his own. He’s obsessed with weaponry, never sleeps and is obsessed with an imaginary monster lurking in their big, stale house (hence the weapons). One night, Samuel asks his exhausted mother to read him a story before bed, the pop-up book Mister Babadook and this is kind of where all the really scary shit begins.
Amelia has no clue where the book came from and her son becomes convinced that The Babadook is real. He has visions of it, suffers seizures and strange things just keep on happening around the house. When Amelia finds broken glass in her food, Samuel swears down The Babadook did it.The relationship between mother and son is further fractured when he pushes his cousin out of a tree house when she bullies him for not having a father (GOOD) – which in turn isolates her from her fucking annoying, unsympathetic sister Claire, who can’t stand Samuel. (Sister, I hear you but there are unspoken rules about tolerating the little shits if they’re family).
Meanwhile, the book seems to predict awful things Amelia might do via the medium of crude illustrations – including violently slaughtering their dog Bugsy, Samuel and then herself. When she destroys it, it just keeps on coming back – even killing it with fire doesn’t work. Amelia starts to have terrible visions, can’t stop shouting at Samuel and well, starts seen the original Goth prince Babadook for herself. When he impersonates her dead husband and promises to come back to her if she brings him the boy, Amelia wises up to his game. But when she becomes posessessed it’s up to Samuel to help her fight this motherfucker to the death.
Bring it BABS.
The Final Girl
Amelia stumbles and falls a lot but this is what makes her so freaking real. Grief really is a fucking bastard but there comes a time to either fight or die – and this pair are forced to get shit done. Her love for Samuel never wavers, even though at times she could succumb to the promises of the BD – and who of us in the same boat wouldn’t also think about it? But she also knows when enough if e-fucking-nough and when she finally confronts him, it’s glorious.
All along the BD was a metaphor for something altogether more sinister than a poxy poltergeist or a home invader and I love love love it. Jennifer Kent has produced a masterpiece with a FG for the ages – and you know what? Amelia’s victory isn’t finite – unlike the dead antagonist on the kitchen floor (after the second or third jump scare). She has to continue to fight it, feed it and keep it at bay because that’s life, kids.
I love her and I love Samuel and this movie is everything.
Final Girl Rating