“We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
After a more than fruitful succession of writing and directing ventures for some of TV’s most popular shows (“American Horror Story”, “Creepshow”, “Chilling Adventures or Sabrina”, “The Haunting of Bly Manor”), Belgian filmmaker Axelle Carolyn makes a welcome return to long-form format with her sophomore feature, The Manor releasing as one of four brand-new “Welcome to the Blumhouse” horror movies.
Penned by Carolyn and starring Barbara Hershey (The Entity, Insidious, Black Swan, Falling Down), Jill Larson (The Taking of Deborah Logan), Bruce Davison (Willard), Fran Bennett (8MM, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare), Nicholas Alexander (“Good Girls”) and Shelley Robertson (Good Girls”), The Manor sees Judith Albright (Hershey) check herself into a historic nursing home, when a sudden stroke diminishes her ability to care for herself. Despite the best efforts of the staff, and a budding friendship with three fellow residents, Judith starts to convince herself that a supernatural force is killing everyone around her. Having recently suffered a stroke, Judith’s warnings are dismissed as pure fantasy and even her devoted grandson Josh (Alexander) thinks her fears are a symptom of dementia, not demons. With no one willing to believe her, Judith must either escape the confines of the manor, or fall victim to the evil that appears to be preying on the helpless residents of this seemingly cosy nursing home.
Ahead of the film’s October 8 release on Amazon Prime, SCREAM sat down with lead actress, Hershey who discussed how age is nothing more than a number and how shockingly relevant the film is given the fact that the Covid pandemic proved to be an unprecedented challenge for nursing homes.
Words: Howard Gorman