Friday, November 11, 2022

Lynne Davison's Mandrake


Opeth isn't the only band that breathes November to me. TV On the Radio has also long been synonymous with the penultimate month of the year, though I'm not entirely sure why. With both bands, I think it goes back to the first couple of years after I moved to L.A. I was really digging in and establishing myself, and I spent a lot of time listening to music (as I always do). Whatever the reason, TVOTR is always a band I "feel" more when the skies are grey and the air has a nip to it.


Yesterday I watched the latest film to hit Shudder, Lynne Davison's Mandrake. Super solid Irish Folk Horror. 

If you dig flicks like Lorcan Finnegan's Without Name or George Popov's The Droving, you'll dig this one. Very subtle, brooding and ominous. Here's the press solicitation:

Mandrake follows probation officer Cathy Madden, who is given the task of rehabilitating notorious killer ‘Bloody’ Mary Laidlaw back into society after twenty years of jail. Cathy has always believed that every client deserves a shot at redemption, but her beliefs are firmly tested when two children disappear near Mary’s farm.

This is the kind of movie where the setting is as much a character as the actors, and Davison and crew could not have chosen wiser. Mary's "farm" has so much character, you can practically smell the place whenever the film takes you there. Mary herself, played by Derbhle Crotty could not be creepier in her stoicism, leaving you wondering about her motives and machinations pretty much from the first time she appears on screen. Likewise lead Deirdre Mullins's aforementioned Officer Madden. Mullins plays this character so close to the chest that you can feel the disappointments in her history before they're ever mentioned in the film. 

Over the last year, Folk Horror has become such a thing that I went from being excited by it to having a healthy dose of skepticism whenever a new film hits. Mandrake, however, is quite solid and a definite recommendation for those nights when you're looking for something more cerebral and less bombastic. Not that there isn't blood, because there most certainly is that, too.


Opeth - Watershed
Electric Wizard - Dopethrone
Boy Harsher - Lesser Man
Revocation - Teratogenesis EP
Revocation - Netherheaven


From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

A lot of emotional work ahead in order to advance to a place where those 'feelings' won't interfere with my better judgment. 

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