- horror reviews - MOH 2022

You Are Not My Mother

IMDb Info

Release Year: 2021
Runtime: 1h 33m
Country: Ireland
Language: English
Genre Tags: Drama, Horror
Plot Summary: In a North Dublin housing estate Char's mother goes missing. When she returns Char is determined to uncover the truth of her disappearance and unearth the dark secrets of her family.

Poster - Title Card rating: notes: A nice, dark fairy tale. The first two acts are exquisitely creepy, as a daughter struggles with her mother's depression and possible madness. A teenage girl's reality is a nightmare she can't wake up from. The third act is a little rushed, with a pat ending, but everything before easily makes up for it.

Outside Reviews:

Sheila O'Malley
3 out of 4 stars -

Char is a teenager, but she is the responsible one in the household, scolding her mother about there being no food in the house, begging her to get out of bed and give her a ride to school when she misses the bus. School is no better, although a kindly teacher (Jade Jordan) takes an interest in Char. One morning Angela disappears, seemingly vanishing into thin air. When she returns home a few days later, she is very different. She's sometimes light-hearted, but she can turn on a dime. She is often quite frightening. Char has been traumatized by years of neglect, and tiptoes around the house, keeping her distance. The grandmother knows more than she's saying. "You Are Not My Mother" has some plot, but it's mostly the portrait of the claustrophobia of family secrets, particularly for Char who has no idea what's going on, and slowly comes to understand that everyone has been keeping something from her, something to do with her. Her entire life has been built on fabrications and half-truths.

Guy Lodge
A Richly Ambiguous, Autumnal Irish Horror Balances Mental Illness and Mythological Unknowns

The so-called "elevated" horror genre has lately been overrun with stories in which supernatural creepings function as a metaphor for psychological trauma and dysfunction. At first through-the-fingers glance, "You Are Not My Mother" appears to be following suit, centering as it does on an isolated teenage girl haunted by the unpredictable rhythms of her mother's debilitating mental illness. But this pervasively eerie, emotionally acute debut from Irish writer-director Kate Dolan doesn't trade in neat symbolism or pat explanations: Steeped in local folklore, it lets mythic and mind-based terrors exist side by side, allowing the viewer to interpret and believe what they will. This leeway comes at no cost, however, to its effective atmospherics, which sink into the bones like an unexpected twilight chill.