Writer/Director: Kate Dolan
What It’s About
"Family is the scariest fu**ing thing on the planet."
A very dark ‘coming of age’ movie. Char lives in a rough community in Northern Dublin with her mother Angela, who suffers from severe mental illness, leaving her mostly bedridden. They live with Granny (Rita). After her mother disappears for a few days and returns, Mom is behaving differently. Erratically. She refuses to take her medication, self harms and terrifies Char. It certainly looks like her mother, but something’s off.
What I Thought
I liked it a lot. It had a unique story that blends Irish folklore, with fantasy while shedding light on living with someone with mental illness. It’s part horror, part fantasy, part dark drama.
We follow this poor girl, Char who’s obviously been through a lot in her young life. She’s bullied at school, has a distant relationship with her grandmother, is insecure about her looks and also has to cope with no father and a mother who’s unavailable. You feel such empathy for her. Half the horror for me was, how much can this kid take?
This movie starts out strong with an apparent child sacrifice by an elderly woman, who we later come to know as Granny. Granny seems to resent Char, leaving a fractured relationship there. Char really has no one she can turn to.
The overall tone was unsettling. There were some truly dark and horrifying moments all tied in with this theme of mental illness which I thought was really intriguing. It makes you think a bit afterward, was it mythology? Or was it all just illness all along?
The fantasy/horror element was unique, borrowing from actual Irish folklore. It was well written and well executed. The horror scenes were actually horrific, the acting was stellar. The young lead actress, Hazel Doupe, was incredible to watch. Such range. The mother is played by Carolyn Bracken who’s worked mainly in theater and TV, was phenomenal.
This movie was engaging from beginning to end and I highly urge you to check it out.
Other than a couple of pacing issues for me, I found it deliciously gloomy and ominous. Great atmosphere, chilling scenes. Some well shot creepy moments. Unique.
A modern Gothic horror story with an element of body horror and creature effects that will take you by surprise whilst giving you the feels.
Where to find it