Mother, May I? | Digital Review
I did not know what to expect from Mother, May I? going in, as I had read so little about it. I did think that it was going to be more of a horror, as I recall it being billed as such prior to its release. But in saying that, it's not a bad thing in any way at all that it's more of a drama than a horror. I also had not seen any of the director Lawrence Vannicelli's previous films, although Porno, which he co-wrote and also produced, is on my watchlist. But back to Mother, May I? I was very kindly supplied with access to a digital review screener by Alternate-Current.
Synopsis: Emmett enters into a nightmarish game of therapy with his wife Anya, who has inexplicably taken on the persona of his estranged and recently-deceased mother. Bizarre and creepy in equal doses, this psychological thriller will keep you guessing if this is truly possession or just a twisted battle of wills.
Directed by Laurence Vannicelli (Porno, Black Site Delta) and featuring Holland Roden (Teen Wolf, Follow Me) and Kyle Gallner (Smile, Scream), Mother, May I? is a genre-bending, supernatural horror.
Warning: The following review may contain spoilers relating to the movie and to the story.
Emmett and Anya, played so well here by Kyle Gallner and Holland Roden, move out to the country after Emmett's mother dies, leaving him the family home. When we first meet them, their relationship appears to be going through some therapeutic sessions, which they both provide to each other. So we know from the get-go that things are not so good with them. After they take some drugs one night, Anya appears to show signs that she has been taken over, or possessed by Emmett's recently deceased mother. Talking like her, acting like her, pretty much immitating everything about her, including swimming, which we find out early on in the movie that this is something Anya cannot do, to the extent she even fears water.
I don't want to get too much into the story, to avoid giving too many spoilers, but this is a movie that will have you guessing for the most part. I will say if you are maybe thinking about watching, there are not a lot of horror elements in Mother, May I?, and it's a bit more of a psychological drama than anything else. It's also the slowest of slow-burners, but don't let that put you off, as there is a decent little indie film here. It reminds me of the type of movie that I would have seen at a film festival, like it doesn't fit into a specific genre. It's well made and well acted, with the two main cast supported by Chris Mulkey as the friendly neighbour.
Overall, I did enjoy Mother, May I?. Would I have liked the horror elements to have featured more? Yes, absolutely. I think that aspect of the story, maybe could have been fleshed out a little bit more. It would have added so much to it. But in saying that, there was enough with this as a drama to keep me entertained, with the relationship between Emmett and Anya being the focal point of the movie. And yes, I would definitely watch Mother, May I? again.
g1a5w3g1an's Rating: 3 out of 5.
Mother, May I? is currently available to own for £9.99 and to rent for £5.49, from participating digital platforms, having been officially released by Vertigo Releasing on August 21st. This review was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, and without the labor of all of the writers and the actors who are currently on strike, this movie would not exist.