Throwing up something of a new slant on the home invasion chiller, Motherly actually appears to be being dubbed an ‘isolation thriller’.

And it’s easy to see why, as the Canadian feature centres on mother and young daughter Kate (Lora Burke) and Beth (Tessa Kozma), holed up in an out-of-the-way farmhouse as part of the witness protection programme.

Why? Well, it appeared that some time previously Kate’s husband lost it in a big way, carving up one of his daughter’s friends during a game of hide and seek and leaving her in a bloody pile.

Understandably carted off to prison, the traumatised Kate and Beth need to start again, eager to escape their past and rebuild their life as a family.

But, plagued by flashbacks, will that be possible? And as the isolation ratchets up the bickering between the pair, will they ever indeed be able to ‘move on’?

Motherly is very much a film of two halves – at first we get a taut, tense thriller, shrouded in mystery and with enough intrigue to get the audience guessing (and invested).

Sadly though things then take a turn for the worse, with director Craig David Wallace throwing in everything bar the kitchen sink in the second half, with plot twists and gore aplenty. Unfortunately the messy resolution will be pretty obvious to genre fans, as well as being unlikely to satisfy.

There’s still plenty to recommend here – for starters the performances are pretty strong, most notably Burke and Kozma as mother and daughter, and Wallace (who has the likes of TV fare Slasher and Todd and The Book Of Pure Evil on his resume) shows a very sure hand in building the atmosphere over the opening hour.

Which is why it’s a real shame that Motherly descends into what my wife quipped was ‘one of those Channel 5 movies with a bit more blood’. You will undoubtedly see worse films at Frightfest this year, but you will also see a lot that are better.

Arrow Video Frightfest Review: Motherly
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About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle