You Are Not My Mother is arguably the greatest Irish horror movie ever made
From the very first scene, the sense of dread never lets up.
That headline might sound like we're damning with faint praise, and that is totally reasonable concern.
Irish cinema has always done a fantastic job of nailing drama and comedy, but when it comes to other genres, we're not quite there yet.
That being said, there have been some very good recent entries, including The Hole in the Ground, The Canal and The Cured. However, new release You Are Not My Mother may now hold the title for the best Irish horror movie ever made.
Written and directed by newcomer Kate Dolan, it tells the story of Char (Hazel Doupe), a teenage girl in North Dublin City, who lives at home with her grandmother Rita (Ingrid Craigie), and her mother Angela (Carolyn Bracken), who has recently been bedridden with a bad bout of what appears to be extreme depression.
You can check out our in-depth conversation with Dolan and Bracken right here:
On her way home from school one day, Char notices Angela's car abandoned in the middle of a field, shopping bags still inside, door open, but no sign of her mum. Calling in Angela's brother Aaron (Paul Reid), who seems well versed with Angela's personal history, they call the police and begin searching for her themselves. A short while later, Angela appears back at home but she doesn't appear to be herself. She's bright, breezy, light, full of smiles and laughter.
It is clear that Char, Rita and Aaron really want Angela to have fought through her latest bout with her own mental health, but it is also clear that the family are now dealing with a new problem, one that none of them are fully prepared for.
To go much further into the plot details would give away some of the movie's deliciously dark twists and turns, but Dolan's script and direction weaves in the particular Irish mentality of attempting to brush any and all problems under the rug with the country's unique history with folklore and the supernatural.
Right from the opening scene - which involves little more than a baby inside in pram - the overbearing sense of dread remains constant, practically never easing up on that pressure for the blessedly brief 93 minute runtime.
The movie comes to the big screen on the same day as The Batman, in what is likely a point of counter-programming for anyone who might not want to check out the latest superhero movie in an absolutely packed-out screen, but if we want to see more great genre movies coming from Ireland and Irish film-makers, movies like this absolutely deserve your support.
You Are Not My Mother arrives in Irish cinemas on Friday, 4 March.
Clip via Magnolia Pictures