Spoilers don’t mess with mom.
I don’t know what my comfort zone is inside the horror genre. It’s one of the most diverse and easily mixed film genres but it can also has subgenres that can be really niche. This feature felt a little vague, described as a romance horror but more accurately feeling as a folk horror film. How much you will vibe with it is a bit of a gamble. It preys on generational and religious fears as well as bit of xenophobia from audiences. Despite the comedy tag in imdb, don’t expect it here.
Attachment (2022) was written and directed by Gabriel Bier Gislason. Maja (Josephine Park) is former actress in Denmark, once part of a children’s show. She meets and falls in love with Leah (Ellie Kendrick) a Jewish academic. After Leah has a seizure and ends up in crutches, Maja decides to return with her to London. Leah lives with her mother Chana (Sofie Gråbøl), who is rigorously religious and very much into Jewish mysticism. Chana is instantly hostile to Maja, keeping her at a distance and following customs and rituals Maja is unable to comprehend.
This is not a creature feature, this is more of a religious-themed paranormal story. Don’t expect flash and thunder though. I wouldn’t fault you to consider it a slow burn, albeit I think it does keep up a tense thriller-like atmosphere where you suspect of everything but know not where the blow comes from. There’s no jumpscares. I’d describe this more as a drama-driven horror film. The small cast and the close settings help it along. At the same time, I feel there’s a tinge of xenophobia against religious fervor, one that is both use to heighten the fear aiming to distract the attention.
Does it work? Not all the way to the end. The angle of Maja’s and Leah’s love story is a solid one and you almost wish it had remained the movie’s only focus. Leah’s relationship with her mother Chana takes center stage but it feels like a distraction, a ruse meant to lead you towards the wrong path. Chana is a complicated character, problematic but human. As we enter the third act, the tone has become diluted and it becomes rather uneven. You can probably guess where it’s headed, but as the final lines are drawn the engagement factor drops a lot.
Lightly recommended with reservations. Folk and family horror enthusiasts might find strengths that I’ve missed. I don’t think this is what you’d go for looking for romance, although there is some, and definitely not comedy, which is just incidental. Characters are strongly portrayed, but I felt less engaged as the horror angle changed and somehow deluded instead of intensifying. It might be a matter of taste, so save this watch for a rainy day or when you feel like testing the waters.
That will do for now.