SHUDDER EXCLUSIVE: Mandrake (2022)

Probation officer Cathy Madden (Deirdre Mullins) has been assigned the case of Mary Laidlaw (Derbhle Crotty), a woman who’s just been released from prison following the murder of her husband twenty years ago. When she first drives her home, two children are waiting, wanting to meet the urban legend — she’s a witch, so they say — in person. Yet when those same two children soon go missing, Cathy learns she has so much more on her hands than a normal case.

Directed by Lynne Davison, this finds Cathy undergoing horror in her personal life as well, as her ex-husband Jason (Paul Kennedy) is remarried to a normal person who is with child (Roisin Gallagher) and even worse, Cathy’s son Luke (Jude Hill) calls her mom. This is something that Mary knows and uses against her, taunting her with how much it hurts to lose a child.

Of course, there’s also a demon, a wood baby made from roots and a town that wants to destroy Mary, who is now tied to Cathy through this horrific ritual.

While not the finest folk horror you can find, Mandrake is shot well and quite unsettling in parts. It’s definitely worth a watch if you’re struggling for something new to check out.

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