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[Glasgow FrightFest]: Mom

Featuring an incredibly poignant and powerful performance from Emily Hampshire, Mom, the feature length debut of director Adam O’Brien, is a terrifying psychological portrayal of postpartum mental illness. 

After giving birth to her first baby, new mom Meredith (Hampshire) experiences what initially begins as typical baby blues. Yet with sleepless nights, painful breastfeeding and an unempathetic and incompetent husband, her post-natal behaviour soon descends into full blown psychosis, resulting in a senseless tragedy. After being abandoned by family following the incident, Meredith is utterly alone and forced to come face to face with the dark entity that now haunts her every waking moment.

From the opening sequence in which audiences see Meredith on her hands and knees, scrubbing the kitchen floor of amniotic fluids directly after returning home from giving birth, whilst her husband Jared (François Arnaud) cradles the baby in the background, it becomes clear that the journey of motherhood for Meredith will be fraught with struggle, desperation and neglect from those who should be taking care of her in such a vulnerable and fragile time in her life. Mom is a frightening, yet deeply emotional portrayal of the loneliness and isolation many new mothers feel following the birth of their babies, as well as the stark reality of postnatal depression, anxiety and even psychosis. 

The marriage of a taboo subject matter, disturbing visuals, as well as an incredibly jarring score, makes for an uncomfortable watch which is highly effective in causing audiences to hold their breath with tension seeped in dread as the inevitable consequences unfold on screen. Emily Hampshire’s turn as a despondent mother, crying out for help only to be gaslit and ignored, is deeply compelling, allowing audiences an empathetic insight into what it is like to be inside the mind of a tormented woman struggling to feel good enough to be what society dictates as “the most natural and important role in every woman’s life”. Disturbing, dark and heartbreaking, Mom is saturated with gothic sadness, akin to J.A Bayona’s The Orphanage from 2007. 

5 out of 5


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