Axelle Carolyn (director)
06 October 2021 (released)
In a scenario that some may be familiar with Judith (Barbara Hershey), mother of Barbara (Katie A. Keane) and grandmother to Josh (Nicholas Alexander) collapses in her garden and after a three-month recovery we see her being shown around The Manor nursing home.
It’s a nice enough place which Judith seems to like though Josh has his reservations. Josh through family matters is closer to his grandmother than his own mother or her to her mother. So we have the push and pull of should she be there or not.
And initially you can understand Josh’s reservations with Judith relatively active there’s a lot of people just sitting activity less seemingly resigned to wait their time out. Mobiles are confiscated and there are restrictions on going outside. The staff are blunt to the point of harsh when dealing with difficult residents as Judith sees for herself when her roommate Imogen (Cissy Wellman) is troubled.
However things do perk up when she is befriended by Roland (Bruce Davison) who introduces him to Ruth (Fran Bennett) and Trish (Jill Larsen). They turn out to be a bit of a trio; far sprightlier than the other residents whom they gently mock in the only way that people who have some idea of what they are going through can.
They also warn that any suggestion of dementia means an assessment by the doctors with the inevitability of pills and permanent stasis. Judith is happy enough with them, even fending off a pass from Roland until she starts to see visions and a creature attack her roommate, and later her. Naturally her ‘delusions’ come to the attention of the residency staff with not quite the inevitable results.
Written and directed by Axelle Carolyn The Manor is a hotchpotch of horror genre staples with monsters, possession, paganism and witchcraft and a humongous giveaway mid-way through the film. It actually works quite well within the central drive of the film which is about aging and the terrors of dementia and abandonment.
The latter is all too clearly spelt out to Judith by her new friends that whatever Josh may say now he’s got his own life to lead and that’s true to a certain extent. The treatment of the elderly residents is pretty appalling at times, which we know happens but not across the board in these places.
What is more incisive is the scheming between owners and family building a self-interested nepotistic cell that takes advantage of residents and families. It helps to underline that, as many of know, these places are at their core businesses.
The Manor is available now on Amazon Prime.