Where I Watched It: Hulu
English Audio Description Provided By Point 360
Narrated By: Roy Samuelson
I laughed basically all the way through my YouTube review version of this. Not because the film is funny, but because it is totally and completely bonkers. Yesterday, in the real world, I was mentioning some of the more recent titles I had seen that felt wholly original as horror titles, and not just retreads, and that’s half the reason I gave Matriarch decent marks. I’m still, a week later, not sure what I watched. I don’t know that I will ever fully understand or comprehend the intention behind choices in the film, but as far as totally out of left field choices go, Matriarch surprised the hell out of me.
I really didn’t think it was headed where it was going either. The film doesn’t really suggest for the first third that this is where the film is headed. But, it evolves. The elevator pitch is that a young woman, who is going through a hard time in her life, receives a phone call from her mom out of the blue after having not seen each other in 20 years. Somehow, the mom knows her daughter is not OK, and begrudgingly, the daughter decides to finally visit home for some R&R, also believing there must be some reason her mom reached out after all these years.
What comes after this is not entirely the film you’d expect, nor is it even the obvious choice given the title. The title can take on a new meaning and form by the end of the film. What you end up getting is a bizarre cross of several different horror concepts, all rolled into one. Almost like the writer drew from a hat, and then wrote a film from the specific plot elements.
You’ve got your standard religious themes, with heavy suggestions of cult like behavior, plus a retaliatory effort from the Christian minority who sees this all as some kind of devil worship that is dragging the town down. You have the light promise of this being some sort of creature/monster movie, as suggestions are made that “something” is out there. You’ve got sort of a Mommie Dearest situation where, once her daughter is home, the mom does a ton of morally questionable things. And then finally, body horror,. Not gore in the way that people are attacked, or that there’s a slasher or anything, but straight up a plot element that causes truly unique and hilariously disturbing body horror. It really is a grab bag of insanity, and I kinda liked it.
I wish more people had seen this, so I wasn’t talking to myself. The audio description does the heavy lifting, whether it’s describing something disturbing because it’s horrific, or disturbing for an entirely different reason. Matriarch throws a lot at the narration team, as this is a very visual piece, with a lot of moving parts. It’s easy to write this off as some crap dropped onto Hulu, but the only reason for that is it has no recognizable cast. I have no idea how they would have marketed this, without ruining the twists, which make the movie what it is.
Take the ride. You might find it well worth it.
Final Grade: B