Pregnancy changes you. Your body betrays you, your personality takes of fin wild directions, and it can feel like there’s a little monster growing inside you. And maybe there is!
Quick shout out to the trashy options that we never seem to be able to fit in: Baby Blood and Inseminoid.
5. Antibirth (2016)
This one is nuts. Chaos reigns some blighted wasteland where Lou (Natasha Lyonne) squats in an abandoned trailer, picks up shifts as necessary cleaning a motel, and abuses her body so relentlessly that it becomes the perfect breeding ground for…something.
There’s a lot going on in this movie, most of it unrelated to the plot but aesthetically in line. Writer/director Danny Perez basically creates a fairly realistic town just this side of Street Trash.
Lyonne is unhinged, unperturbable genius in this piece of insanity.
4. Honeymoon (2014)
How well do you really know the person you marry? Leigh Janiak’s Honeymoon taps into that anxiety and blends it a bit with pregnancy horror to basically make everything about that new, conjoined life feel alien and weird and murdery.
Rose Leslie is particularly effective as a woman in transition. Her performance is simultaneously tender and sinister.
Janiak nails the smalltown horror, conjuring a kind of sci-fi Let’s Scare Jessica to Death.
3. Huesera: The Bone Woman (2022)
Michelle Garza Cervera’s maternal nightmare is bright and decisive, pulling in common genre tropes only long enough to grant entrance to the territory of a central metaphor before casting them aside for something sinister, honest and honestly terrifying.
While it toes certain familiar ground – the gaslighting of Rosemary’s Baby, for instance – what sets Huesera apart from other maternal horror is its deliberate untidiness. Cervera refuses to embrace the good mother/bad mother dichotomy and disregards the common cinematic journey of convincing a woman that all she really wants is to be a mom.
Huesera’s metaphor is brave and timely. Brave not only because of its LGBTQ themes but because of its motherhood themes. It’s a melancholy and necessary look at what you give up, what you kill.
2. Prevenge (2016)
Anybody with any sense at all is afraid of pregnant women. With unassuming mastery, Alice Lowe pushes that concept to its breaking point with her wickedly funny directorial debut, Prevenge.
Lowe plays Ruth. Grieving, single and pregnant, Ruth believes her unborn daughter rather insists that she kill a bunch of people.
Why such bloodlust from Ruth’s baby? Lowe, who also wrote the script, divulges just as much as you need to know when the opportunity arises. At first, there’s just the macabre fun of watching the seemingly ordinary mum pick off an unsuspecting exotic pet salesman.
Putting a relevant twist on the classic “horrific mother” trope, writer/director Carlo Mirabella-Davis uses the rare eating disorder pica to anchor his exploration of gender dynamics and, in particular, control.
Where Mirabella-Davis’s talent for building tension and framing scenes drive the narrative, it’s Bennett’s performance that elevates the film. Serving as executive producer as well as star, Haley Bennett transforms over the course of the film.
When things finally burst, director and star shake off the traditional storytelling, the Yellow Wallpaper or Awakening or even Safe. The filmmaker’s vision and imagery come full circle with a bold conclusion worthy of Bennett’s performance.