SHUDDER EXCLUSIVE: Spoonful of Sugar (2022)

Millicent (Morgan Saylor) is taking a semester off of college and making money by caring for Johnny (Danilo Crovetti), a mute child whose allergies are so bad that he has to wear something that looks like a spacesuit. Meanwhile, the kid’s mom Rebecca (Kat Foster) is a self-help sex positive guru obsessed with being a perfect mother yet cursed with a philandering handyman husband named Jacob (Myko Olivier) who walks around with his shirt off in front of his son’s new live-in companion.

Millicent has never had a family before and the foster dad she does have is played by David Yow from the Jesus Lizard as exactly the kind of character you’d expect he’d play. And her therapist Dr. Welsh (Keith Powell) has the hypothesis that LSD can make her less childish and awkward.

If tripping can fix her, maybe it can fix Johnny. Right?

Like every movie about a nanny ever except probably the one it references in title, Mary Poppins, Spoonful of Sugar is about a strange young woman trying to work her way into a family and take it over.  Isn’t that what she’s done with every family she’s been part of — spoilers coming up — which always ends with her killing them? She’s also a woman in a young girl’s body, something men seem to want to sully, and they all pay for it.

But that’s not the only twist, which is appreciated. And that one, well, I won’t reveal.

Directed by Mercedes Bryce Morgan and written by Leah Saint Marie, this has some intriguing turns and looks interesting, but man, who would bring someone like this around their family? It isn’t until that final surprise that it all makes sense.

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