31 Days of Hallowe’en 2020, Day 19: Matriarch [2017]

Matriarch (2018) - IMDb

Matriarch is not a film I’m going to recommend. I’m actually quite puzzled as to how this got made, because there are several poor decisions made both on and off-screen. Which is a shame, because the premise was promising: after a couple breaks down on a remote Scottish country road, they seek help at a nearby farm, only to find that the farmer and his wife show a sinister interest in the wife – who’s heavily pregnant.

First of all, who the fuck travels at all – especially to the middle of Scotnowhere with no phone reception – when you’re about to pop a baby out? And what driver doesn’t see a massive fallen tree blocking the road, and swerves into an upright tree and totals the car when your wife is heavily pregnant?

Not that it matters, because this snobby couple is horribly unlikable, committing the cardinal movie sin of trashing your farmer host without checking that they’re listening on the other side of the door. Not that that matters, because they are fucking weird, including two inbred-looking ‘sons’ who let their ‘mum’ kiss them on the mouth at the dinner table. Ew.

As far as poor behind-the-scenes decision-making goes, we then have a terrible dream sequence in which preggo wife suddenly recalls that a girl she saw on the farm is a girl that went missing a few years ago. Jesus. After more terrible dialogue and at least one fuzzy bit of photography, things start to look slightly more interesting with a buried-alive scene, but who buries someone under not even one fucking foot of earth?

Honestly, everyone in this movie gets what they deserve, including two random campers in a scene with no consequence, purpose or entertainment-related merit. There are some weird forced-breast-pumping moments, and every other single personal liberty of preggo wife is violated (there’s even the obligatory attempted rape scene), but none of it blooms into anything other than low-budget prairie torture porn, with scenes meandering into ‘what should happen that’s slightly unpredictable but ultimately doesn’t matter anyway’ territory.

I wanted in so many ways to like this, but the acting, the characters, the script, the plot progression, even the violence is just fucking awful – there’s a scene in which preggo wife clocks the titular matriarch on the head with a massive wooden crucifix, only it makes ZERO SOUND upon impact, like the foley artist flicked a toothpick off the top of a soda can onto a fucking sponge.

The outside of the house was nice. Two stars for that.

Score: 🎃🎃

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