The Reel Review


After a strange drug overdose causes her to have an even stranger medical condition, a self-destructive career woman troubled by her emotionally traumatic childhood visits her estranged mother in the English countryside, where she realizes things are not as they seem, in this supernatural horror on Hulu.

Jemima Rooper and Kate Dickie in Matriarch.

Using a dimly lit, macabre setting, eerie cinematography and an unsettling score, writer/director Ben Steiner maintains a sinister, foreboding vibe throughout Matriarch. Jemima Rooper (The Girlfriend Experience) and Kate Dickie (The Green Knight, Game of Thrones) both give committed performances as the troubled daughter and her mother who, like many other residents in her village, mysteriously hasn’t aged in the 20 years since she last saw her.

Kate Dickie and Jemima Rooper in Matriarch

Technically, Matriarch is a competently executed horror film, with decent CGI and effectively gruesome body horror. Steiner’s themes, however – the trauma caused by bad parenting and the supernatural occult – feel like a very bland knockoff of Ari Aster’s Hereditary, with some really silly unexplained moments. But at just under an hour and a half, those seeking mindless entertainment will at least find that this Matriarch doesn’t overstay her welcome.


Matriarch was filmed in and around Bristol and Somerset County in southwestern England.

Matriarch was hampered by several COVID-related challenges during production – after his son contracted COVID-19 in the fall of 2021, writer/director Ben Steiner had to direct via walkie-talkie from his car during the first few days of filming. The completion of filming was postponed to early 2022 after star Jemima Rooper contracted COVID as well.

• Initially the film was to be called Wormeater, but was changed to Matriarch so as not repel female viewers.


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