‘You’re Not My Mother’ Balances Folk Horror With Family Drama

Arguably more than any other form of cinema, horror tends to see regular quick bursts that see oddly specific subgenres become increasingly popular and widespread in a relatively short period of time. With titles including Catchers, The Saint, A dark songand The hole in the groundsupernatural stories rooted in Irish folklore have added to the list in recent years, with that of Kate Dolan you are not my mother the latest impressive example.

The writer and director’s feature debut originally won acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and is currently available on Netflix in select international markets, but the haunting exploration of how mythology and trauma generational can often go hand in hand in unexpected ways. main hopes to find a whole new Blu-ray, DVD, and on-demand audience on June 21st. If you’re a fan of slow-burning atmosphere, flickering terror, and spooky tales that have important things to say, then be sure not to sleep on this one.

you are not my mother
via magnet release

However, don’t expect a scary balls-on-the-wall that spurts blood, guts, gore and leaps across the screen with ferocious regularity, because it’s not that kind of movie. Instead, Dolan’s working-class chamber piece, which is thought-provoking and completely open to interpretation, opts for a slower pace, which allows viewers to fully invest in the characters, their dynamics. and their fractured relationships, before plunging it all into local changeling legends. , fairies and Samhain.

It helps that the three central performances are all phenomenal, with each generation of the central family expected to bring an entirely different perspective to the overall themes of you are not my motherbut still managing to present them as completely in tune with the tone of the film as a whole.

Hazel Doupe’s Char is our protagonist, a withdrawn teenager who goes through the usual trials and tribulations of a high school existence that finds her shunned and bullied by her peers, but it’s her home life that causes the most concern. . Her mother Angela, played by Carolyn Bracken, suffers from severe mental health issues that keep her largely indoors and confined to her room. However, when she suddenly disappears one day, then returns home with no explanation as to where she was, Ingrid Craigie’s superstitious matriarch Rita instantly assumes the worst. Turns out she’s right about the money.

you are not my mother
via magnet release

It may be Doupe who anchors you are not my mother with a grounded, relatable turn that’s as understated as it is effective, but Bracken is convincingly unsettling in what could be described as the “showiest” part. As the title suggests, we the audience and Char know that Angela 2.0 is definitely not his mother, but Bracken’s journey into demonic territory is a progressive play of the hand, which refreshingly does not not rely on histrionics or overt signaling to get the point across.

The very first scene carefully helps establish the outline of the premise and central conceit, but Dolan never offers answers that could be considered entirely definitive until the final act. As the story progresses, you’ll wonder how real Rita’s talk about another world just beyond ours is, whether Char believes it or not, and why Angela was suddenly replaced by a malevolent look-alike with his views. set to tear literally and figuratively the formerly united clan.

you are not my mother might bask in narrative ambiguity, but Angela’s twisted, bone-smacking, ultimately grotesque assimilation of something else perfectly shows that Dolan isn’t beating around the bush when it comes to elements of another world. It firmly roots the film in a heightened reality that exists almost parallel to our own, full of everyday issues we can all relate to and empathize with, but the presence of something sinister lurking around every corner adds another layer. urgency and intensity to the procedure. that burrows just under the skin.

you are not my mother
via magnet release

The marriage between family drama and folk horror isn’t a new or original prospect, but it comes across very clearly and with supreme confidence that Dolan has invested a great deal of herself in all aspects of you are not my motherwhether it’s the interpersonal dynamics between friends, families and locals, the introversion of Char’s true feelings that cause many backfires among those close to him, or the deeply rooted belief in local lore that makes the elders point the finger of blame at something wrong long before the younger generation even begins to consider the possibility.

A tight script, nerve-wracking sound design, effective shot composition, deliberately dark cinematography, and a first-time filmmaker admirably ripping everything possible out of a tiny budget that was capped at $400,000 and shot during a pandemic-induced lockdown does you are not my mother a fantastic business card.

Dolan can officially be considered one of horror’s most intriguing and singular new talents, thanks to a debut that’s definitely worth seeking out for horror aficionados who prefer to have something to thinking and chewing once the lights come on, as opposed to adrenaline draining. rush towards splashing sets that have nothing to say, and find themselves forgotten in an instant.