August Book of the Month: The Body

It’s felt like a month since I’ve posted a blog post, and at this point, probably has been a month instead of a couple of weeks. I think with my schedule now I’m going to post every other week. I’ll still have my book of the month series of blogs; however, I’m finding my Youtube ideas much more appealing to me than blog posts. (If you didn’t already know, I have a YouTube channel!)

For August I read The Body by Stephen King. It is the second book I can say I’ve ever finished after seeing the movie version beforehand. (The first was Alice in Wonderland, because really, who escapes Disney’s grip as a child in the 90’s?) Nonetheless, that means there will be a bit of comparison between the book and movie in here. I haven’t seen the movie in several years, but it was one of the classics I’d watch when I grew up.

It was a rather short book, which took me longer than I anticipated to read considering I finished it on the last day of the month. I read it between doctor’s appointments and a visit to the beach. When I got deeper into the story, it was easier to binge-read. The entire time I kept forgetting which character had which exclusive trait, mainly due to my stop and go reading in the beginning.

Gordie, our main character, looks back to the event of finding the body with his friends, Chris, Vern, and Teddy. That much I remembered from the movie, besides the leeches scene. I’ve never swum in any unidentifiable water because of that scene burning into my mind from a young age.

Something that the book included that I found was interesting was Gordie’s written stories. There were two: Stud City, and The Revenge of Lard-ass Hogan. They were included as if the character wrote them, and I found that stylistic choice a refreshing break of regular narrative form. I wasn’t entirely a fan of Stud City, and to be honest, I skimmed over it after the first few pages. Gordie didn’t like it either when he reflected on it, so it seemed to work (for me, at least) in a meta sort of way. Lard-ass’ story, one of the other sequences I remember from the movie, was highly entertaining to read. I love a good revenge story, and to a point, gross-out humor is funny to me.

Another scene left out of my memory (that I doubt was in the movie) was Gordie’s nightmare. The whole metaphorical weight of it paired with Chris’ speech to him was a chilling reminder of his future and the future of his friends. It was like the harsh reality that not everyone succeeds and not all childhood groups stay together forever.

I was invested in the characters, mainly Gordie and Chris, and when they came across the older brother and his friends, I was genuinely worried. Something the movie didn’t leave in my mind was Gordie’s entrancement from Ray Brower’s body. The absolute detail of the body and its state in nature was something hypnotizing, effectively drawing the reader in like how Gordie was drawn in.

Overall, I enjoyed The Body. It was a solid, short read. I’d give it 4/5 stars. I think if I hadn’t seen the movie years prior I would’ve liked it more, especially with the ability to have been surprised by the twists. September’s book of the month is Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I’ve come to terms with my inability to read between/before classes because I now know my classmates and like to talk to them, so now I read half an hour before bed. That blog post will adhere to the new every-other-week schedule.

June Book of the Month

June’s book of the month was Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. Blake has become a substantial author in young adult fiction, especially with her current series Three Dark Crowns. I was surprised to see the range of genres from horror to fantasy, and also comforted by the fact authors can reign free and not necessarily get locked into one, and still be successful. Anna Dressed in Blood was her debut novel, and it was encouraging to see that ghost stories are still popular, and popular enough to get picked up as someone’s debut. I love ghosts, probably a little too much, but at least not as much as Cas. I gave this book a full five out of five stars.

Anna Dressed in Blood is about Cas Lowood, a fresh, young ghost hunter who picked up his father’s ghost-killing athame after his father was killed by a vicious spirit. He moves from town to town with his Mom to get rid of local haunts. He moves to Thunder Bay to hunt down a notorious ghost, who has gained the title “Anna Dressed In Blood.” In his pursuits of hunting her, he befriends a local mind-reading witch Thomas, along with the most popular kids in school: Carmel, the queen bee who is actually a decent person, Mike, her dumb jock ex-boyfriend, and Will, the jock’s sidekick who’s got just as much intelligence as he has kick in him.

The characters were easily my favorite part of the book. Each one seemed like someone I would’ve met in high school, and even though Cas stereotyped them in the beginning, they each became more than just a character type. Even Anna, dead and from another time, showed significant wit and character beyond just being a dead girl. At certain points different characters went against their own personalities, usually for superficial reasons, but at no point did any of it feel fake. Kendare Blake knows her audience well, and has a strong grip on the voice of teenagers. I found myself laughing out loud from Cas’ remarks throughout the book, like his constant insistence that he’s not one of the Ghostbusters and rejecting the idea of teaming up to become a ghost fighting group. Even the adults were entertaining and well fleshed out despite their limited appearances.

The plot of the story was tightly woven, and where there were some gaps of knowledge, I’m certain they’ll be answered in the second book. How do I know that? Passing details that didn’t seem significant wound up being monstrously important throughout the ending, and everything that Cas set out to do was solved but left with different cliffhangers. Naturally, he can’t accomplish everything the way he had planned, but even the cliffhangers were tight and gave a solid idea of where the series would head afterward. Every piece of information given was used and transformed as the story went on. Even the hitchhiker from chapter one is referred to later.

Overall, this is one of my favorite books. I’m glad I accidentally bought the sequel first; if I had it with me for the start of July, I’d easily make Girl of Nightmares my July book of the month. Unfortunately, I could only haul so many books with me when moving, so it’ll be on its way when my mom comes to visit about halfway through the month. So in the meantime, the sequel will have to wait another month before I can get to it. Instead, July’s book of the month will be The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I haven’t read a historical fiction book yet, and I’m interested to see how I enjoy it.

May Book of the Month

May’s book of the month was Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I like to switch between books made more recently and books made long before I was born, so this month’s book falls into the latter category. This is one of those books that high school teachers like to assign for reading. However, I was never in any of the classes that got to read this. Maybe it’s due to no somber recollection to being forced to read pages for homework, but I really enjoyed this book. I’d give it a four out of five stars.

I can see the roots of more current dystopian books well within this one. Hunger Games, Divergent, even bits of the Maze Runner and The Giver. (We had to read The Giver in my seventh-grade class. I feel like I would’ve liked it more if I read it in my free time.) Even though most of the protagonists are young adults or children in these more modern books, Montag still shares some of the themes that these children do. His life goes through some drastic change where he’s forced to question existence, meets an idealistic young friend who opens his eyes to something new, and simultaneously is punished for his new thoughts brought on by the external influence. He is then by an older figure —Faber in this case— on how to try to make the world change.

Montag doesn’t change the world, and I think that’s why I enjoyed the book so much. It doesn’t give the false sense of security in completely redefining a world for it to wind up better. Many of the young adult dystopian wind up with some bittersweet end where some bad does come, but there is still something gained by their journey. Montag’s journey winds up only saving himself and none of the people he cares about. It might be the bits of nihilism in me, but it’s refreshing to know there are books with some neutral, not necessarily even moralistically bad endings.

The rag-tag team of prior teachers and scholars were the most interesting paid-off twist that Montag encountered. If the novel were written in the current times, it would’ve produced a series of at least two or three more books afterward, but it ends poignantly, with a small glimmer of hope. I encountered now one of my favorite quotes from this book, spoken by Granger, one of the scholars and living books:

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

It’s interesting to read the introduction, which in my edition is Neil Gaiman from 2013, to find how startlingly applicable the themes from the book are today. If only 2013 Neil Gaiman or 1953 Ray Bradbury knew what was to become the future.

Speaking of the future, June’s book of the month will be Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. I’ve meant to read this book since I graduated high school, so I might as well finish it before it comes times to graduate college!

April Book of the Month

April’s book of the month was Children of Eden by Joey Graceffa. I’ve been following Joey’s YouTube channel since around 2014, so I was more than excited to add his first foray into the world of fiction to my read list. I’ve been sitting on this book for quite some time now, and I decided enough was enough: time to pick up another dystopian novel. Because I’ve been following Joey for so long, I was able to pick up on aspects of the story that I wish I hadn’t. As much as I enjoy Joey’s content on YouTube, I have to say that I was partially let down by his novel. I’d give it 3/5 stars.

Children of Eden follows Rowan, a secret second-child who grew up hiding away in her home in a society with a one-child policy. The society is fairly advanced with eye scanning technology that can verify the identity of the person based upon the surgical lenses that are implanted in the official citizens. Rowan’s well-off family tries to get her an illegal pair of lenses that function well enough to give her another identity, but things go wrong, and she’s launched into a life or death scramble to find safety in a world where second children are sought to be eliminated. She tries to find safety between other second children and her brother’s friend, Lark.

The first thing I noticed reading this was Joey’s writing style. There were moments of beautiful description, but I found the majority of his style uninviting. There are adverbs everywhere. If I had a dollar for every adverb, I’d be able to pay rent for the next two months at the least. To be fair, the reason I’m noting it with distaste is due to Stephen King’s writing advice in On Writing, which I agree with for the most part. An adverb here or there isn’t too distracting, but they’re everywhere and take away from the power of proper word choice. Another thing Joey does is tell repeatedly instead of showing what’s happening. There are only two times I can remember this choice making sense within the story, and the majority of the other ones (I lost count) can be solved by just having Rowan say whatever Joey’s telling us she said. Also knowing Joey’s past of having not getting into a college writing program, I recognize that he likely wouldn’t have known this almost universal lesson. It still detracts from the quality of the novel, however.

The other part of Joey’s style that irks me is how clear his agenda is behind writing the novel. He criticizes the human race’s destroying of the land and its resources —which to some extent is good, we are destroying the planet— but it’s so blatantly pointed in the way he pins it to Rowan it doesn’t make sense. A girl who has never escaped her house and has only read about the past have such a strong opinion of a world she isn’t connected to doesn’t make sense. At points, she becomes a mouthpiece for his views, like one moment when she criticizes humans having previously eaten animals. (Again, why would she care? She’s never seen an animal. Maybe it’s for that reason; since they’ve been wiped out and she can’t see any? Weak motivation, but that’s as far as I’ll buy into it.) If you don’t know much about Joey, he’s a passionate vegan, and in a more recent video, he told (his boyfriend) Daniel’s nephew that meat was bad. Sigh.

This immaturity of Joey’s transfers to Rowan, who acts younger than her age at some points. She’ll lash out at random times and remain calm when it would make more sense to lash out. Rowan’s character isn’t focused, and I never knew what to expect from her. I wound up finding the characters surrounding her —Lark, Lachlan, and even Rook— more interesting and developed. The side characters seem to have more clear motivations and defining for the majority of the book until Rowan has to step up and take some kind of control of her destiny. It was a little late in the book, but when she does start to step up, I found the story a lot easier to read.

At this point, it sounds like I have more bad things to say than good, but I did wind up liking the story in the end. I never found myself wanting to shelf it, but it was a bit forced in the beginning. I couldn’t figure out what was the inciting moment or reason why it was that point in Rowan’s life that things would change besides some details after she explores the world outside her home. The world kept me involved as more pieces started coming together about their form of government is shady and the different groups that are joining together that disagree with it. Even the way fashion works to identify where different people are from in the rings and even what schools the children go to.

Something else that Joey did that I found to be pleasant surprises was the little details to the characters that I don’t find in many other places. I haven’t read any other books where a character in the main cast, Lark, has seizures. Additionally, Rowan’s brother Ash has asthma, which even plays into the desperation of one scene later on in the book. I wouldn’t be the judge on how accurately he depicted these conditions or not, but it’s nice to see some attempt at diversity from the usual straight, able-bodied main characters that riddle most popular fiction. Rowan is also depicted as bi/pansexual with interests in both Lark and Lachlan, using the trope of the love triangle but twisting it. Initially, I was annoyed by this addition, until I recognized that Rowan has only grown up with her family, where she likely would associate a kiss as a form of appreciation or affection. Maybe that’s me reading into the situation too much, but I believe it validates the inclusion of the love triangle. Lark and Lachlan seem to be more confused by the act than Rowan is.

I already own the sequel, Elites of Eden, which I would’ve pursued getting even if I hadn’t had it already. My main interest in the book is in its world and what would become of it if the (spoiler-revealing) plans went through, along with the twist ending. I didn’t expect to be left on such a cliffhanger that gave me a pleasant surprise, but I look forward to reading the second book. As much as I found the book a pleasant read, it’s still clear to me that it was likely published due to Joey’s millions of fans willing to buy it. There’s a couple of editing errors as well throughout that stood out, but only one made me struggle to understand what was happening. For now, I’m going to let Children of Eden sit aside so I can focus on a book that has a more substance to it. For May’s book of the month, I’m reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

March Book of the Month: Survive the Night

My book of the month for March was Survive the Night by Danielle Vega. As much as I love the horror genre, I was surprised to realize that this was the first official book I’ve read in the genre. I’ve watched more horror movies than I can think of, but I was shocked that it took me this long to read something in the current genre. (Besides Carmilla, I suppose, if you count that as horror.) Overall, I found the book incredibly enjoyable and I was able to finish the last hundred or so pages in one sitting because I was so invested. (I usually read between my classes, therefore, multiple sittings. I read outside of my class time for a lot of this book.)

I immediately related to the main character, Casey. Although, that’s likely just a coincidence. She had dislocated her kneecap playing soccer, and from being active, meanwhile, I dislocated mine walking energetically in gym class. However, unlike her, she became addicted to her pain medication, and we are introduced to her as she’s coming home from rehab.

I only have a few aspects of this book I had some critique on, and the first act was so long it almost made me flip ahead to check if anything juicy happened sooner. I was eager for the horror. The information delivered, while important, took up slightly over four chapters of the book before we got to the promise of the premise, surviving the night. At the very least, getting to the actual club and the first hint of horror.

Another aspect I didn’t enjoy that also occurred throughout the first portions was Casey’s fixation on her ex-boyfriend. At first, it seemed a little below her character to be so focused on him for his sort of approval but looking back I’m more lenient on it after certain revelations. I suppose you could say his love was one of the drugs she had been addicted to in a way. His character confuses me a bit as we find out more about him, along with his involvement with Shana.

Once they finally get to Survive the Night, the exclusive club that they had to get a homeless man’s help to find, the fun begins. Well, the deaths do at least. And that’s what we’re here for in horror. Or I am, at least. The promised premise certainly delivers, and it amps up to the point I kept wondering what could happen next. Usually I’m able to generally guess where a plot is going, and this one kept me fresh and engaged the entire time. The stakes were eternally high throughout the book.

While the ending tied up the majority of the plot points with grace, I guessed the mysterious insinuation it leaves you with from when I read the synopsis. It almost reminded me of the movie Shrooms. However, it left enough threads throughout the narrative to be able to make your own conclusion while further heightening the events that happened. I’m trying not to spoil much with this, so I won’t say here what I think happened. I plan on making a video about that with a spoiler-filled review on a new YouTube channel I’m making. I’ll post the link on here when I do.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Survive the Night. I’d give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Besides the few minor grievances, I think it’s safe to say this is one of my more recent favorites. It also makes me interested in reading Danielle Vega’s series The Merciless. I loved her style throughout the book. I don’t own The Merciless so it won’t be the next book of the month. I think I’m going to go for a sci-fi approach and read Children of Eden by Joey Graceffa. I’ve had this book for a little over a year now, and I should get down to reading it.

January Book of the Month: Carmilla

I challenged myself to read one book a month this year, and to start the year off, I decided to read Carmilla by J. Sheridan LeFanu. I’ve seen the webseries that adapted the story by KindaTV on YouTube, and I was interested to see where it originated from. Considering it’s been over a year since I’ve last kept up with the webseries, I figured it’d be a good opportunity to acquaint myself with the source material. I usually don’t read books that were written before at least the 1900’s, but much to my own surprise it was a fairly easy and enjoyable read.

While some of the language and mannerisms are dated, the casual tone of Laura recalling her experiences makes the story resemble an almost ancestral feeling of the modern Young Adult Novel. I never found myself stopping to look up words or putting down the story from being overwhelmed by the words on the page, or rather, words on my phone. I’m sure there were a few words that I breezed over by using context clues, due to the fact I was so enraptured by the story itself.

On another note, reading the story on my phone created this odd, disconnection between the idea of the physicality of reading it in its original intended form and what I was reading it on. It was easier and cheaper to carry my phone around and read it. I usually read before my classes start, and reading on my phone for some reason gave people the idea they could interrupt me? I often found people approaching me to speak —despite headphones in and scrolling on my phone— when I was clearly focused on something. I’m all for talking to people when my headphones are out, but I was surprised by the lack of recognition. I wonder if having the physical book there will be a clearer sign that I’m doing something not out of idle nature?

Getting back on track to the book itself, I had heard it heralded as a lesbian vampire story, and I expected it to be an exaggeration. People grasp for any kind of representation in the media (which thankfully we can provide in the modern day) and I thought people were just overhyping what could be a solid friendship with some undertones to it. (Like in many popular TV shows with fandoms to them.) But no, I was completely wrong. Laura is definitely Carmilla’s love interest in the story. The way LeFanu writes about it as well doesn’t immediately jump out to me as anything disdainful either, which is surprising considering it was written in 1871. Laura doesn’t seem entirely enthusiastic of Carmilla’s weirdly bipolar swings of affection in the beginning (who wouldn’t), but she continues to speak and get along with Carmilla until near the end so I guess she was okay? Besides that at least, it didn’t strike me as anything spiteful.

Another part that surprised me was the fact LeFanu used the word vampire within it. I’m not entirely sure why, but I expected the word to be avoided or replaced with some other similar moniker. Considering this predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I was also interested in seeing the different depiction of the vampire itself. Carmilla can shape-shift between her human form and a cat-like beast. She also has a fair amount of super strength and can seemingly disappear into thin air. The only things that stay consistent to many of the other vampire stories is the super strength and the fact she slept in a coffin. And that she could die from a stake to the heart, beheading, and burning.

I had very few criticisms to the story. The first being how General Spielsdorf just kept going on about telling Laura about his story. There had to have been another way to get the information across besides an almost eternal thread of speech. I got lost at some points to where the dialog ended and began. It was necessary information to provide clues to Carmilla’s true identity, but I’m not entirely sure word dumping was the best avenue. I also kept mixing up Madame Perrodon and Mademoiselle LaFontaine. The monikers are so similar I mentally lumped them together; they didn’t differ much from each other anyways from the roles they played. The only other criticism I had was the ending of how Carmilla died. She’s evaded getting caught for hundreds of years but she manages to retreat to the one place the party is snooping around to try to find her? That’s rather dumb of an intelligent character.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. I’m glad I got one of the classics of horror down; I still have more to read for the year. At some point I’ll get to Dracula and Frankenstein. The next book I’m going to read for February is going to be either Fahrenheit 451 or Cat’s Cradle. I’m leaning towards the latter.

It Comes At Night [REVIEW]

This movie came out earlier this year, and the marketing team did a wonderful job boosting the intrigue to this movie to the point that I actually wanted to see it. I had many questions going into the movie that I wanted to know the answers. What’s behind the red door? How/why’s the lady vomiting black goop into a guy’s mouth? And the most important, pressing question of them all: WHAT COMES AT NIGHT? Continue reading

IT is IN (It 2017 REVIEW)

This Thursday, despite being displaced from both my home and my college dorm because of hurricane Irma, I made sure to get to a theater and see It. This movie is the most recent adaption of Stephen King’s novel It, which also was adapted in 1990. For some unknown reason to me, I haven’t seen the original It movie. (Maybe I saw it when I was on a horror binge when I was 13. Either way, I don’t remember it.) I haven’t read the book either. Therefore, I will be reviewing the movie as a standalone piece.

The movie opens with little Georgie getting his little sailboat waxed and going out to follow it in the water going to the sewers. It inevitably goes into the sewer, but Pennywise the clown happens to catch it for him. Somehow Georgie is unfazed by the large clown man somehow being in the sewer, but he talks with him nonetheless before Pennywise strikes. This scene, at least, is common knowledge as it sets up the premise for the movie itself and is included in the majority of commercials.

We get introduced to the main group of kids, AKA the Losers’ Club, and subsequently begin to see how they interact with the other kids at their school and around town. Naturally, like any piece of media about geeky kids, there is the stock jock bully and his friends that seem to be a common link between all the kids involved. Bill, Georgie’s surviving brother, persuades the rest of the kids to go on an adventure to the pine barrens and check to see if his lost brother Georgie is there.

As the kids begin to enjoy their summer as much as they can —in a Stand By Me sort of fashion, if you can count searching for your probably dead brother as enjoyment— each kid begins to encounter Pennywise in multiple forms, individually tailored to their own terrors. (I don’t know about them, but if I even thought I was hallucinating or even dreaming some weird nightmare fuel I feel like I would’ve told my friends earlier about it than they did, but I digress.) Once Bev has her encounter, the pace tends to pick up as the kids realize that they’re all seeing the same thing and decide to take a stand.

The plot, which had been a bit slow picks up for the second half of the movie as each kid mentally prepares for facing Pennywise. Each of them play an important role to their team of clown hunters. From then on, the pacing picks up and more of the interesting parts of the movie happen. I won’t spoil from then on, but each kid manages to be developed despite there being a decent number of them to juggle.

I appreciated the amount of detail that went to accurately portraying kids around that age. It’s been a handful of years since I was as old as the Losers’ Club members, but I remember that there was plenty of swearing involved. Along with painful jokes that even we ourselves cringed at, thanks to Richie’s unending bout of awkward, classic jokes that never seemed forced by the writers. They felt like a kid genuinely forcing the jokes to seek approval, something that seems to make sense for a talkative character. (Side note: I was totally glad Finn Wolfhard played him. To see him swearing and playing video games makes me wonder if any casting people saw him on Game Grumps.)

Despite It being directed by Andy Muschietti, the guy who somehow let Mama’s painstakingly obvious 3D effects happen, It’s 3D effects, while plentiful, never interrupted the narrative. As an animation major, I’m able to spot what cheap, inexperienced 3D effects look like, and that’s what Mama had. It, on the other hand, managed to make me forget the plentiful hours of animation, visual effects, and other post production additions went into the movie. The only thing that stood out to me while watching was how beautifully the scenes were shot with the compositions and color toning. It was a beautiful horror movie, something that is hard to come across.

It’s horror didn’t come from baseless, cheap knee-jerking jump scares and splatter fests like many modern movies rely on. It went into the very basis of fear itself and different literal and metaphorical representations of it, and yet, didn’t beat you over the head with the metaphorical parts like some other movies do whenever they don’t just want to get you with any jump scares. (The Babadook. Cough. Cough.) The journey comes to an end with a realistic acknowledgement of all that the kids have been through (especially Bill) and the consequences of both their individual and combined journeys.

It ends with a plethora of opportunities to continue the narrative, and I look forward to seeing when chapter two comes out. I might just have to float to my nearest movie theater and tie myself down at the risk of being blown away again.

REVIEW: The Babadook

With the Babadook resurfacing in popularity recently from becoming an LGBT+ icon (due to a mixup in Netflix’s labeling system and people running with it), I decided that it would be an opportune moment to talk about the movie it came from. Rotten Tomatoes’ generated critic score gave the movie a score of 98% Fresh, and the audience’s generated score is around 72%. Those are both some generous ratings. I would give it somewhere around a 65%, and that’s being generous.

This movie had so much hype when it originally came out; it made me want to enjoy it. It was recommended to me by one of my English teachers who asked if anyone in the class had seen it. She said her friend watched it and was really freaked out from it, and I told her I’d watch it to give her some insight. I’m not stirred by much in horror movies, and I love the creepy, psychological kind, so I figured if there was anyone in the class to take it on, it’d be me. If it was that scary, it would be a good movie, right? (I was wrong.)

We’re introduced to Amelia off the bat as a grieving wife because her husband died in a car crash on their way for her to give birth to their son. Immediately I thought: Oh. This is probably going to be some metaphorical thing for her grief in the end, isn’t it? I pushed that thought aside with hope that it would be something else as I continued to watch the incredibly slow-paced film.

It never built any tension up for me as it progressed; I found myself falling asleep during the mid-section. Although the movie is roughly an hour and a half long, it felt like it was twice that. The writers were hyperfocused on making sure the viewers knew that Samuel was a troubled child, and spent a majority of the movie showing the various ways he was acting out and how Amelia was failing to do anything that helped the situation, and actually made it variably worse. They did a very good job of making the viewers as annoyed as the Amelia, to the point where I too felt like strangling something. I was hoping she’d strangle the child because I couldn’t stand to watch him anymore. (I can’t stand misbehaved children on screen or in real life.)

The movie picked up pace when the mother was “possessed” by the Babadook because she let it into the house and let it take control of her. Unsurprisingly, and as I already had guessed, the Babadook became a personification of her grief, as she took a hold of it and dealt with it in the basement every day while her troubled child began to live a better life.

Very clearly, I’m not a fan of the writing. However, the movie was shot brilliantly enough that I was able to –at the very least—visually appreciate it. The color toning, the cuts, the environments, all of the actual filming and composition was well done. Even the special effects, while few and amateur, were effective. The actors played their roles well and were entirely convincing. They were just stuck with a bad script.

I really wanted this to be as impressive as the short film it was loosely based on. I saw the short film before the movie came out while on YouTube binge watching short horror films, and that captivated me much more than the actual movie itself. Meanwhile, my emotions shifted between bored and annoyed. _______ as a personification/metaphor for grief is an overused writing theme that, for a horror movie, just isn’t worth the time it’s given.

Whenever I see the image of the Babadook I don’t feel Amelia’s grief throughout the movie, or Samuel’s terror of the monster itself; I only feel rage for wasting 93 minutes of my life watching this shallow movie.