Mandrake

That was bloody great!

Witch tale from Ireland. Mary Laidlaw, known as Bloody Mary, is released on parole from her sentence for killing her husband. Her parole officer, Cathy, doesn’t want the media hype about her devil worship and human sacrifice to colour her view of her new charge. But Mary is super fucking creepy.

I really liked Mary, played beautifully by Derbhle Crotty, because she’s more like the witches that you grew up with on your street. You know how there’s always a witch on every street? And you run past their house when you’re a kid. Then you grow up, and feel a bit guilty, coz you were just running past an old woman, or a woman with a skelly eye, or arthritis in her hands. She was actually just a poor soul, and you were actually a wee dick.

Mary in the film, her abusive husband beat the shit out of her, set her on fire and left her for dead in the forest. But she didn’t die, and when she came home, she chopped him up with an axe. For this she was sentenced to 30 years in prison. So, before you meet her, you kinda think she’s a bit of a soul.

Then you meet her, and you’re like, “Oh! You’re totally a witch”. And maybe her husband burned her because she was a witch. Or maybe she became a witch because he was so violent. It’s all very open to possibilities.

Certainly now, she’s a bampot. But again, not just for the sake of being the villain. She wants what Cathy wants. She’s just, you know, willing to be a total bastard to get it.

Mary is like Cathy’s shadow. Cathy’s husband left her for another woman, and now she’s pregnant, and they’re a happy little family, and Cathy’s son even calls this new woman Mum. Cathy had terrible post-partum depression after what was a difficult birth that left her unable to have any more children. So she feels totally alone, like her entire family, the only one she’ll ever have, has been taken from her. Cathy is impotent in the face of this onslaught, she’s meant to just suck it up.

Mary wouldn’t suck it up. Mary would know what to do to take what was hers.

I really liked this film. It’s a clear villain, without needing to make her a cartoon, and a hero, who is really trying to pull away from her own darkness. Good film.