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Mommy Dearest: 7 Horror Movies about Motherhood

a white woman and her son looking under a bed with their white fluffy dog

The Babadook (2014) - Directed By Jennifer Kent

The 2014 Australian psychological horror The Babadook centres around widowed Amelia (Essie Davis) who is the mother to the lively yet erratic six year old Samuel. After receiving a disturbing child’s picture book containing the monstrous character of The Babadook, Amelia begins to display worrying behaviour which may put her and her child in serious danger. A gothic and twisted portrayal of grief, depression and the struggles of isolated motherhood.

interconnected bodies grabbing at a screaming woman

  1. Huesera: The Bone Woman (2022) - Directed by Michelle Garza Cervera

Based on the Mexican folklore figure of La Huesera, a woman who roams the desert gathering bones, Huesera: The Bone Woman depicts the pregnancy and early motherhood of Valeria (Natalia Solián) as she is haunted by supernatural forces. Turning to traditional Mexican practices, Valeria must journey to the darkest reaches in order to protect herself and her baby. Exploring the subject of queer and personal identity through the lens of motherhood, Huesera: The Bone Woman is a dark folk horror with flecks of body horror.

a woman sits in front of a fire

  1. Mom (2024) - Directed by Adam O’Brien

Following the immediate aftermath of giving birth and returning home, new mom Meredith (Emily Hampshire) is struggling. Dealing with post-birth hormones, sleepless nights, a crying baby and an incompetent and unempathetic husband, she soon begins to spiral into a pit of despair, especially after a terrible tragedy leaves her haunted by a creature that is determined to destroy everything she holds dear. Triggering and desperately disturbing, Mom contains some seriously terrifying, gut-wrenching moments. 

a monstrous female figure reaches her hand out

  1. Mama (2013) - Directed by Andy Muschietti

This supernatural horror film stars Jessica Chastain as Annabel, who’s boyfriend Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) discovers his missing nieces in an abandoned cabin in the woods. After taking them home and attempting to assimilate them back into home life, Lucas is attacked by an unknown entity, leaving Annabel to discover the mystery of how exactly the two girls survived alone in the woods. Part dark fairytale, part ghost story, Mama is a beautiful yet terrifying portrayal of loss and a mother’s grief. 

a woman is leaning over another woman in bed

  1. Inside (2007) - directed by Julien Amaury & Alexandre Bustillo

An example of the new wave of French Extremity, Inside stars Alysson Paradis as heavily pregnant Sarah who has just lost her husband in a tragic car accident. On the eve of her induction, a stranger arrives at Sarah’s door, and thus begins a violent game of cat and mouse as La Femme, played by Béatrice Dalle, will go to all sorts of lengths to get Sarah’s baby. Set at Christmas, this home invasion horror has some of the most visceral displays of gore and violence paired with the added tension of the victim being heavily pregnant.


a heavily pregnant woman in a red dress has a painted face

  1. Prevenge (2016) - directed by Alice Lowe

The comedy slasher film Prevenge stars director Alice Lowe as the pregnant Ruth who, after her husband dies in a climbing accident, is convinced her foetus is telling her to kill people in retaliation for the death of her husband. Prevenge provides an excellent examination of post-natal anxiety as well as the overwhelming effects of grief.

a wet Japanese woman is crying and cradling a young girls corpse

  1. Dark Water (2002) - Directed by Hideo Nakata

Dark Water stars Hitomi Kuroki as single mother Yoshimi who is forced to rent a run-down apartment  with her young daughter Ikuko after going through a tumultuous divorce from her husband Fumiyo. After experiencing a chronic leak from the ceiling of their apartment, Yoshimi begins to fall victim to supernatural occurrences which leads her to solve a year long mystery of missing girl, Mitsuki Kwai. Based on a short story collection by Koji Suzuki, Dark Water is an eerie ghost story with heart.


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