Why the horror movie “You are not my mother” is short on the leaps of fear – but long on the suspense


Kate Dolan, director of “You Are Not My Mother”, described herself as a “big fan of horror” during a conversation with Steve Pond of TheWrap at the Toronto International Film Festival. However, while she loves screaming as a fan, she said she found herself avoiding the genre-typical “jump scares” in her directorial debut.

“I constantly watch horror movies and love them a lot,” said Dolan, joined on the panel by film stars Carolyn Bracken and Hazel Doupe, who play mother and daughter in the film. “Obviously, as a horror fan and as an audience member of the genre, there are things that I want to see when I watch (a horror movie).” However, she added that the expected “genre beats” didn’t always match the low-key terror of “You Are Not My Mother.”

“It didn’t feel authentic to me to do that in this story,” Dolan said. “I couldn’t be openly trying to block out the fears when they weren’t really there. I feel like every genre beat had to serve the story and the characters. And so, yeah, maybe it was a bit more streamlined than other types of horror movies.

Dolan pointed out that the Halloween party originated in Ireland – much like the ancient mythology of “changeling”, when a supernatural entity appears as a familiar human being. In “You Are Not My Mother,” the mother returns home after missing the week before Halloween, and her daughter notices that her behavior has become bizarre and more and more frightening.

The director and cast members were careful to avoid any spoilers, but Dolan said the story called for mixing the supernatural with the reality of mental illness, a challenge she said she experienced in her life. own family. Dolan said she wanted to make it very clear that she was not trying to “demonize” mental illness, just to let the public realize how much mental illness symptoms in a parent can be. scary for a vulnerable child.

“It’s almost like some kind of unreliable narrator in a way, and it’s all through his point of view,” Dolan said. “I think it’s very important to remember that when you watch it.”

Actors Doupe and Bracken said they took a “chemistry test” before being picked to make sure they would be comfortable in their family roles, and found that among other things, they shared the same meaning. of humor. While Doupe said she was nervous when production started, “I feel like we all wanted to go to the same festival… we all wanted to, like, get the same out of it…”

Bracken said with a laugh that part of what made Week 1 a challenge was that before filming began, the cast and crew always wore masks on set. She covered her face up to her nose with her hand to give viewers the idea. But it didn’t take too long before the eyes got it.

“In the first week (it was hard) to get used to what people say with their eyes when you can see the rest of their faces. But after that, yeah, everything was fine, ”Bracken said.


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