Drama featured

TIFF Review: ‘You Are Not My Mother’ is a Genre-Bending Tale that’s Destined to Become a Halloween Cult Classic

September 22, 2021Ben MK

When you think of horror movies rooted in Irish folklore, you might think of films like Leprechaun. But whereas that sequel-spawning, comedic gore-fest is perhaps best known for giving none other than Jennifer Aniston one of her earliest on-screen roles, it's a far cry from writer-director Kate Dolan's You Are Not My Mother, a decidedly more somber and serious take on Celtic mythology that gives disturbing new meaning to the term "mommy issues."

Charlotte (Hazel Doupe) is a North Dublin teenager who's been going through a rough time. At school, she's often the target of bullies who mock both her and her entire family as mentally ill; and at home, she's the primary caregiver for her aged grandmother Rita (Ingril Craigie) and her mother Angela (Carolyn Bracken), the latter of whom has been dealing with frequent bouts with depression. As Halloween approaches, however, Charlotte faces a new problem. For when her mother mysteriously vanishes only to reappear the next day exhibiting strange and unexplained behavior, it would seem to lend credence to her grandmother's belief that Angela has been replaced by a Changeling. Could these unrelenting and terrifying supernatural creatures — who, according to Rita, have plagued their family in the past — have returned to finish what they started?

A dark and brooding tale of otherworldly terror that also incorporates elements of family drama, the result blurs the line between genres while also delivering one of the most chilling examples of domestic horror this side of The Exorcist. Suffice to say, You Are Not My Mother is destined to become a new Halloween cult classic — just don't expect to see any bloodthirsty gnomes in striped socks creeping about.

You Are Not My Mother screens under the Midnight Madness programme at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 33 min.

You May Also Like