Hollywood’s Obsession with the Devouring Mother

Hollywood MothersHereditary, the title of Ari Aster’s eagerly anticipated new film, has got horror fans sitting up and paying attention. Rumours of psychologically broken actors suffering from PTSD and promises of a film set to be this generation’s The Exorcist, Hereditary is already guaranteed to secure a place on the IMDB Top 100 list. Motherhood is as prevalent a theme in horror as death, sex and mental illness; indeed, the most monstrous incarnations manage to assimilate them all into one. 

If you take a sweeping glance across the horror genre over the last decade, you’ll notice that mothers have had a pretty bad rap. Angry, over-bearing, sexually repressed, possessive; the devouring mothers depicted on-screen are Freudian nightmares. In the flesh, in spirit, male, metaphorical or metaphysical – the devouring mother archetype manifests in a wildly vast number of ways. Continue reading

Hereditary review “What was that ending?”

Hereditary movie posterThe nauseating anxiety triggered by this film has only just receded from my psyche. It’s rare, nowadays, for a film to imbue such writhing terror onto a usually desensitised and skeptical audience.

The jump scares are scarce as the film titters towards a creeping-dread approach to horror; horror that emerges from our inevitable capacity to inflict pain on ourselves and those we love. Comparisons with The Exorcist and The Shining do this film little justice however, as Ari Aster’s directorial debut has much more in common with subdued tension-builders like It Comes At Night and The Witch (both films are also distributed by indie-powerhouse A24). Continue reading