Damn you, scary Irish horror films about changelings and the wee folks and so on! Scared the Christ out of me there the other night, making me close my bedroom door at bedtime instead of leaving it invitingly open for Dracula as usual. Well, you know, just in case he’s ever free for a supernatural shag, like.

This film, which feels to me to be primarily a woman’s film with a mainly female cast, is set on an Irish housing estate with mountains and woods nearby. Char, short for Charlotte, is the protagonist. She is a schoolgirl with a really miserable life. I mean, seriously, you’d feel actively sorry for her.

She has no dad. Her mum Angela has untreated mental problems. They live with Angela’s mum Rita, who, though kindly, is elderly with health and mobility problems, and Angela’s brother Aaron, who lives nearby, pops round from time to time to throw an eye over things.

There’s not enough food in the house for a growing schoolgirl, and you get the impression that poor miserable Char, with an unexplained burn on her face to boot, has to fend for herself much of the time. She gets bullied in school by a trio of really disgustingly horrible female bullies, and, to be honest, her life is just one long round of misery piled on top of misery.

Anyway, one day Char’s mentally unstable mother Angela, who clearly needs to be treated for her obvious depression, goes missing for a day and a night. The Guards aren’t a whole lot of help.

Then, Angela just suddenly turns up back at the house, seemingly none the worse for wear. Where the fuppin’ hell has she been…? ‘I can’t tell you… yet,’ Angela tells her daughter Char ominously. Well, that’s not bone-chillingly disturbing at all…

It’s clear to the viewer that Granny Rita thinks there’s something radically wrong with the Angela who’s returned from God-knows-where. A terrified Char notices some pretty big differences herself between her old mother and this frighteningly upbeat new mother.

There are some really creepy scenes as she tries to keep herself safe from the eerily manic ‘New Mom.’ (Including one set to the music of Irish, erm, heart-throb, singer Joe Dolan. I haven’t been able to find out whether writer and director Kate Dolan is any relation…!)

Where has Mum been, and what if anything does it have to do with the burn on Char’s face, which her family have always tried to persuade her is a birthmark? And why do the neighbours think that Char’s family is weird, and why does the dad of one of Char’s bullies order his daughter to stay the hell away from Char?

It’s all tied up with the fascinating but terrifying world of Irish folklore and mythology, where changelings and fairy folk and curses and spells abound. Trust me, you don’t want to piss off the little people, whether it’s by demolishing their fairy fort in order to build a new road, or by trying to swap a changeling back for your original child. Nothing but thorns and sadness, or even madness, lies in store for such a person.

YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER, on Netflix at the moment, gave me a right good scare, so I’ll score it highly and recommend it to fans of Irish folk horror. Almost as frightening as the scary story itself is the bullying element of the movie.

If girls today are really as vicious to each other as they appear in the film, then teachers and parents are not properly doing their respective jobs of keeping an eye on the little brats. Parents in particular need to start looking into what the hell their kids are doing in their after-school hours and clamping down on it where necessary.

The film is set at Halloween, by the way, and revolves around a bonfire built by the schoolies (handle fire carefully and responsibly, kids!), so it’s the perfect film to watch this October. Happy viewing.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

Her new book, THIRTEEN STOPS EARLIER, is out now from Poolbeg Books:

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:


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