Showing posts from August, 2022

Amulet (2020)

Written and directed by Romola Garai, Amulet tells of a troubled, displaced ex-soldier who is offered a place to stay at a decrepit old house in London, inhabited only by a young woman and her dying mother (who resides in the attic, no less). Before long, he begins to suspect something sinister is afoot... Flirting with various tropes from demonic possession and haunted house films (warnings to stay out of the attic, things heard moving in the walls, horrifying discoveries in the decaying plumbing), Garai masterfully sets the scene and creates a portentous, gloomy atmosphere before eventually lifting the curtain to reveal a truly original and terrifying fable of feminist revenge. With its exploration of forbidden spaces, depictions of the monstrous in its myriad forms and reflections on trauma, abuse and gender, Amulet is a highly unsettling and atmospheric work that wields a strange, undeniable power. Throughout, Garai maintains an insidiously creepy approach, her deliberate directi

You Are Not My Mother (2021)

When her missing mother reappears, teenaged Char begins to suspect she is an otherworldly imposter. Written and directed by Irish filmmaker Kate Dolan, You Are Not My Mother taps into some truly primal fears – parental abandonment, being harmed by those meant to protect us, and being ostracised from our community. The carefully nuanced screenplay ensures an enthralling ambiguity throughout. Char’s mother has a history of depression and mental health issues – are the changes she exhibits due to her ill health? Her medication? Or something more unnatural ? Dolan’s writing and direction are bolstered by incredibly strong, compelling performances, particularly from Hazel Doupe as Char and Carolyn Bracken as her mother Angela. Char is a subdued, quiet girl with no friends. Doupe’s ability to convey so much internalised emotion, worry and pain is especially captivating. Bracken also delivers a memorably striking performance, the physical aspects of which create a sense of unease and eventu