Directed by Ben Steiner, Hulu’s “Matriarch” is a folk horror film that revolves around Laura Birch (Jemima Rooper), a high-flying publicist who finds herself overwhelmed by her job. After a cocaine overdose, she begins to believe that a supernatural entity saved her life. However, Laura soon begins to show symptoms of a mysterious illness. When her estranged mother, Celia (Kate Dickie), urges her to come home, she reluctantly agrees, hoping that staying where she grew up will help her take control of her problems.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen, and once Laura returns to her home village, she instantly remembers why she left in the first place. Also, she realizes that there is a sinister force lurking in the quaint settlement. As a film, “Matriarch” explores dark themes such as abuse and addiction. If this has you wondering if it’s inspired by real events, we’ve got you covered.
Is Matriarch a true story?
No, ‘Matriarch’ is not based on a true story, nor an adaptation of a book. As a horror feature, “Matriarch” has supernatural elements embedded in it, overshadowing the film’s realistic aspects. ‘Matriarch’ was developed from a screenplay by Steiner. The film marks his debut as a feature film director. “I’ve been making shorts for over twenty years,” director Ben Steiner told Bristol 24/7 in an October 2022 interview.
Steiner added, “They were never just a means to an end, and whether or not I can make more feature films, I will definitely continue to make short films. But I always hoped that they would lead to a feature film. And now they have. It’s a dream come true, which I’m doing my best to enjoy while feverishly plotting my sequel. I have plenty of scripts ready to go (at least I think they are!), so now I just need a producer and some suitcases full of cash.
In 2018, Steiner released the short film “Urn,” demonstrating his abilities as a horror filmmaker. The project was part of that year’s Huluween Film Fest, and both films revolve around a toxic mother-daughter relationship. Produced by 20th Digital Studio, “Matriarch” is one of nine original Hulu feature films directed primarily by filmmakers from 20th Digital’s Bite Size Halloween Roster.
In October 2022, the filmmaker told Geek Girl Authority that the inspiration for ‘Matriarch’ came from ‘Urn’, adding “…Then Hulu asked me if I could expand it into a feature film, and I jumped at the chance. ‘Matriarch’ has nothing in common with Urn other than that toxic mother-daughter relationship. I live in Bristol, which is in the west of England. I live there for eight years. It’s still relatively new to me. I’m in the landscape around here, which is wet and swampy and muddy, and formerly mystical. So that’s been integrated.
Steiner explained to the same outlet that the goddess in his film, played by Anna Frost, came from a monster, the Worm Eater. “He’s based on a male monster called Worm Eater,” he divulged. “The Worm Eater was the original type of matriarch I’ve drawn on many times over the years and he’s a demonic anti-father who threatens his son at night with this weird mouthful of worms and tentacles. He wanted to be involved in that. But when he entered the arena, he became a woman.
Stein continued, “It was only belatedly that I realized that with the goddess, the ‘mother,’ the character of Laura, and the character of Celia, I had inadvertently written or conjured the archetype of the triple goddess of Maiden/Mother/Crone. Laura is the maiden and Celia is the crone. So the goddess is the Mother. Obviously, “Matriarch” is not based on a true story, although elements of truth are embedded in it.
Read more: Best monster movies