A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Some messages can be inferred from negative examples, like the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse, or that giving birth to someone doesn't make you their mother, but they're weakly conveyed at best.
Positive Role Models
Laura abuses alcohol and cocaine and has an eating disorder, but we never see her seeking help or trying to do anything but hide her conditions. Celia wants to feel important and loved and uses her power to hold the villagers in her thrall. Abi and her father stand against the cultish villagers, knowing what they're doing is wrong, but Abi still cooperates with Celia, and her father just drinks heavily and rails against the villagers.
All characters are White except two strong female secondary characters. Laura's boss Maxine appears to be Black, and Abi, her old friend from the village, has a White father and Black mother. Laura has had a couple of same-sex romances.
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Violence & Scariness
Real-world violence includes a man stabbing himself in the neck with smears of blood shown, a character collapsing and dying after overdosing on cocaine, a character crushing another's skull using a rifle butt with supernatural gore in the form of black goo and worms shown inside the crushed skull, a hard elbow to the face, and a hard slap in the face of an unconscious victim. Supernatural or fantasy violence includes a woman chewing with blood dripping from her mouth holding a baby whose face has been chewed off, black liquid oozing from the nose, and black goo staining underwear like during menstruation. Characters walk into a pond or slough to die. A supernatural being vomits earthworms into a human victim's mouth. Gore and horror are paired with sex when a couple is seen making out or having sex, each time more physically decayed, covered in black goo, and with disturbing, slurpy sound effects. Gore is also paired with sex when a pagan ritual involves people suckling a woman's breasts that are leaking black goo and then engaging in an orgy after drinking the goo. Lots of dark, scary atmospheres and distorted sounds and images.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Gore and horror are paired with sex when a couple is seen making out or having sex, each time more physically decayed, covered in black goo, and with disturbing, slurpy sound effects. Gore is also paired with sex when a pagan ritual involves people suckling a woman's breasts that are leaking black goo and then engaging in an orgy after drinking the goo. Some nude breasts, nudity from behind, thrusting, and groaning during the orgy as well as a variety of explicit sexual positions and number of partners. Some real-world kissing and caressing, fully clothed. A diary mentions sexual positions, penis sizes, and implies varying amounts of pleasure for each.
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"F--k," "c--k," "c--t," "d--k," "a--hole," and "bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Repeated snorting of cocaine, both in lines and from a nasal sprayer, once to the point of overdose and death. Repeated heavy drinking, including putting vodka in a water bottle to bring to work, and drinking hard liquor and wine straight from the bottle. A character crushes pills and sneaks the powder into another's food. Two characters smoke cigarettes once.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Matriarch (2022) is a horror film with some possibly triggering portrayals. Disordered eating is shown multiple times, including a couple that specifically show the character sticking her fingers into her mouth to induce vomiting after meals. At the very end of all the credits, a website and phone number are provided for those who need help with disordered eating, or who know someone who needs help. Alcohol and cocaine are heavily abused, and death from overdosing is shown. Past mental and psychological abuse is mentioned. There are two depictions of suicide by walking into water. Sex is paired with gore in several scenes, including an orgy after suckling black goo from a woman's bare breasts, and a couple making out in a car as they increasingly decay and become covered in black goo. Violence includes crushing a skull with a rifle butt with supernatural gore shown, a gory depiction of an infant with its face chewed off, black goo dripping from body parts instead of blood, and gore from worms and rotting. People at the orgy are nude from behind and some female breasts are seen along with sexual sounds, thrusting, and depictions of different positions and numbers of partners. Strong language includes "f--k," "c--k," and "c--t." An extended scene shows excessive alcohol and cocaine use. Both snorting lines of cocaine and putting cocaine into a nasal sprayer are explicitly shown. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Fans of horror movies, especially those who like them deeply disturbing and creepy, will find enough dark chills to enjoy this one and overlook its flaws. But the gore, sex, and substance abuse make Matriarch definitely not for kids. Sensitive viewers and those who may be triggered by substance abuse, disordered eating, and death by suicide should probably look elsewhere, too.
The overall story isn't terribly original, but there's an interesting take on the manifestation of ultimate evil. There are some plot holes and some odd, unexplained tidbits that may leave viewers wondering why they're in the movie at all. But the runtime is quick, the story clips along at a good pace, the acting is fine, and the sense of dread and fear permeates the whole experience.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.