Attachment (2022) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Attachment (2022) Review

Horrorific content by angie on June 22nd, 2022 | Movie Review | Comedy, Possession, Supernatural, Love Sick, Dysfunctional Family

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It's about two women whose budding romance is threatened by an overbearing mother, religious differences, and a malevolent supernatural entity.

Attachment was directed by Gabriel Bier Gislason and stars Josephine ParkEllie KendrickSofie Gråbøl (The House That Jack Built, Nightwatch), and David Dencik (Regression).

Attachment (2022) Review

A romantic comedy with a difference, Attachment sees writer/director Gabriel Bier Gislason reinvigorate the genre by adding a horror movie twist. Overbearing parents and clashing religions make for a familiar set-up, but the scares set this movie apart. It's not just an overbearing mother and Orthodox Judaism holding back potential love, but an ambiguous and unnerving issue of possession.

Now-obscure Danish actress Maya happens upon the younger Jewish academic Leah at a library, where Maya is running late to entertain children as her former popular Christmas TV character. Though things are chaotic, sparks fly between the pair. They develop strong feelings for each other quickly, but Leah soon experiences a seizure that causes an injury and forces a return home to London. Maya decides to go with Leah, fearing her relationship will be cut short. There she meets Leah's mother, Chana, who lives in the downstairs flat. Not only is Chana rude and unpleasant, but her relationship with Leah's uncle suggests that there are some dark family secrets. It's just the beginning; more strange behaviors and disturbing experiences of relationship interference may extend to the supernatural, with Leah harboring the biggest secret of all.

Gislason artfully weaves in the worldbuilding obstacles between Maya and Leah, taking care to establish rooting interest in this romance despite the core protagonists not knowing much about one another. It's not just the new relationship for Maya but Leah's Jewish background. Maya has difficulty learning her family's customs and endearing herself to the unapproachable Chana while also trying to make sense of Leah's curious night-time antics. On the other hand, Leah is more familiar with her family dynamic and is much less responsive to Maya's concerns.

The tensions and conflicts between Chana, Maya, and Leah create an unsettling atmosphere that Gislason uses to explore horror themes. It sets up a metaphor for codependency that is charged with supernatural energy. Leah and Chana need each other, but it is unclear which one is more parasitic than the other. It all may be in Maya's head as she is driving a wedge between mother and daughter. The filmmaker manages to present the complex dynamics and obstacles of love before even incorporating the Dybbuk.

As the characters' situation grows direr, the horror does as well. Gislason creates a sense of terror with careful planning. Leah's seizures start strange but harmless, becoming more frequent and worrying over time. Finally, it becomes apparent that a more sinister force has entered the situation, resulting in several tense moments that display Kendrick's ability to shift between emotions and characters effortlessly. Telling much of the story from Maya's perspective delays the revelation of certain truths in a captivating, enigmatic manner that makes things more unpredictable.

Even though the pieces eventually fit together, Attachment falls victim to the typical formula for possession stories. The tidy resolution at the end robs it of its power and makes the messy relationship triangle seem simple. So much built-up tension is released too quickly.

Worth Watching? 

Despite a few flaws, Attachment is a horror movie that stands out due to its strong performances, engaging story, and unique setting. The allegorical tale of codependency told through the lens of Orthodox Judaism is both fresh and frightening, despite falling prey to typical possession movie pitfalls.

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