In “The Babadook,” What are The Causes of Sam’s Anger, Violence, and Outbursts?

It is implied in The Babadook (2014) that Sam (Noah Wiseman) has always been a bit of a problem child, but we are quickly shown that his life situation has never been ideal. He has reached an age where he is beginning to feel his mother’s uncontrolled resentment towards him. Other kids are picking on him for being different and not having a father, and he has no guidance on how to respond to these assaults. He shutters himself in a fantasy world of television, magic and monster stories. He builds strangely elaborate weapons to fight against monsters as his way of coping with the demons in his life and to protect himself and his mother from harm.

Sam has an overwhelming desire to protect his mother. She is the root cause of most of his misery, but he has a natural love and devotion to her as the only substantial person in his life. It’s poetic perfection that he does, in the end, assist his mother in fighting her own demons using the very tools he’s designed to protect himself.