Along with the new Hellraiser, Huluween offers two more Hulu originals: Grimcutty and Matriarch, and they couldn’t be more different from each other. Grimcutty is a modern tale about how quickly hysteria can spread in a small community through the instant connections of the internet, while Matriarch is about a troubled woman who returns to the small town of her youth to find something evil and ancient lurking.
Grimcutty and Matriarch: the first is a modern fable about the dangers of buying into the latest internet hoax
Grimcutty begins with a mother who is in her room anxiously fretting over a story about a new internet meme called “Grimcutty.” This meme/challenge is clearly based on the “Momo” challenge, a hoax that took the internet by storm where a user named Momo enticed adolescents to perform a series of dangerous tasks including self harm, violent attacks, and suicide. The meme was a hoax an resulted in zero calls to emergency services – but you heard of it didn’t you?
Grimcutty isn’t a hoax in this case, but a creature manifested from the hysteria of parents who don’t know how to connect with their children, don’t trust them, and assume they’re easily influenced by anything on social media. The creature looks like a cross between Momo and the Babadook and only the affected children can see him. The parental hysteria sweeps quickly through the parents’ own social media in their small community causing the the Grimcutty to hurt their children with increasing severity. It is only when Asha (Sara Wolfkind) and her mother Leah (Shannyn Sossamon) join forces to get to the root of the evil that the town has a chance to save its children.
While this movie is heavy handed in its messages about the dangers of social media for parents AS WELL as children, that parents need to communicate and trust their children, and that children can and SHOULD be believed when they say something is wrong – I found it to be entertaining. It didn’t really take time to delve into the origins of the Grimcutty – there’s no curse or ancient evil, it just IS. I did care about the characters, and since I was invested in their survival, there were scenes of real suspense. Grimcutty won’t scare you, but it will entertain you and is a worthwhile waste of your time.
Grimcutty and Matriarch: the second is rural British body horror about a small town with a sinister secret
A conceptual follow-up to writer/director Ben Steiner’s 2008 short Urn, Matriarch is a bleak story about a woman ruining her life with addiction as she tries to escape a traumatic childhood. After Laura (Jemima Rooper) survives an overdose, she develops strange physical symptoms – namely a strange black substance oozing from her bodily orifices. With a phone call from her estranged mother imploring her to come home despite all efforts to shield her location, Laura relents and makes the trek to the home she fled as a teenager.
Immediately it is clear that something is weird; nothing has changed and no one has aged. Laura’s mother should be about 80 but looks closer to 50 – and she’s not the only one. The way Celia (Kate Dickie, Game of Thrones) dotes on Laura is suspicious, but Laura is too busy dealing with the black ooze coming out of her and her long-held fury toward the mother that tormented her as a child to notice. The plot sloooooowly advances as sublots of old flames and small town politics throw the story off course. As Celia also oozes black sludge and starts to literally fall apart, the mood in the town becomes increasingly desperate, and Laura finally discovers the disgusting truth about her mother, the town, and her deceased father.
While the third act of Matriarch is compelling, and gross, the end left me saying “that’s it”? Another movie that severely lacks for likeable characters, it is difficult to care about what happens to the protagonist when she’s as unlikeable as Laura. In such situations, the monster reveal is what makes the ends worth the means – and there just wasn’t ENOUGH. If you like folk horror and a slow burn, Matriarch will appeal to you, but it is tame and not scary – it’s even in the least scary category into which Hulu so graciously sorts its Huluween fare.
Both Grimcutty and Matriarch are Hulu originals and available on the streaming service.
Do you prefer ancient demons to modern monsters? Let me know in the comments!