Attachment (2023) Review – Queer Jewish horror rattles at the dreadful repercussions of co-dependency

Attachment (2023) Shudder Movie Review

Elevated horror has had such a bad rep in the past couple of years that even the most exciting filmmakers are trying to slowly circle back to what they have always been good at. Stories about folklore, witches, and the fear of something lurking within are still where the horror genre excels. However, filmmakers like Gabriel Bier Gislason, with a film like ‘Attachment’ are trying to tread a line between the two carefully.

Premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival before turning heads at many other festivals that followed, Gislason’s debut film, now acquired by American streaming service Shudder follows a failed Danish actress named Maja (Josephine), whose accidental meetup with Leah (Ellie Kendrick) – a young academic student from London turns into a sexy romance. There are instant sparks, and even though Leah’s stay in the country is brief, they develop a kind of warm relationship that instantly draws both of them together.

However, before it is time for Leah to leave, she happens to have a mysterious seizure that temporarily cripples her, with Maja being a support system who genuinely cares. The bond between the two develops so hard and fast that Maja is unable to let go, and so is Leah, who delays her flight despite a supposedly intrusive mother who wouldn’t stop calling. Thus Maja, with a deeply seated fear of letting Leah go, suggests that she comes with her to London. The two of them travel together to the Hasidic area of Stamford Hill, London, where Leah stays in a flat above her mother Chana’s (Sofie Gråbøl).

Red Flags, and since this is a horror movie, red herrings started to appear right away. Leah’s mother, Chana – a widowed, middle-aged woman of Danish descent has acquired and accepted the religious but frankly regressive ideals of the Jewish culture and is over-protective of her daughter. She is okay with her daughter dating a same-sex person but is completely dismissive of Maja’s presence. More so, strange and weird folklore symbolism and rituals seem to have taken over the house, and Maja finds it difficult to settle in.

Attachment (2023) Shudder Movie Review

The unfriendly nature of Chana is coupled with her ideals and anxious beliefs. For instance, she can’t eat her food without closing an open book because she believes that the devil might acquire the knowledge and reign havoc. Soon enough, Maja starts to believe that the secretive nature of Leah’s mother, along with the reasons for Leah’s seizures and sleepwalking, has darker, more mysterious reasons. The regressive nature of Leah’s relationship with her mother and the dynamic nature of her relationship with Maja leads ‘Attachment’ into a study of the dreadful repercussions of co-dependency.

Director Gabriel Bier Gislason eagerly skews traditional horror dread with elevated horror metaphors to investigate how love and obsession are such close counterparts that it is often difficult to really separate them from each other. However, the filmmaking obsession with sticking to traditional guns leads Gislason’s third act to easy resolutions. This dilutes the overall allegory to the point where the events and the outcome may appear to be at odds with one another.

That said, the buildup is exciting, and the tone of a horror-romance feels perfectly in sync with the atmosphere that Gislason conjures. However, a lot of the heavy lifting is done by the three leading ladies – Sofie Gråbøl, Josephine Park, and Ellie Kendrick, who are all excellent, making the film worth watching, despite some significant missteps.

Read More: Attachment (2023): Movie Ending, Explained

Watch Attachment (2023) Movie Trailer

Attachment (2023) Movie Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Attachment (2023) Movie Cast – Josephine Park, Ellie Kendrick, Sofie Gråbøl, David Dencik
Where to watch Attachment
Shikhar Verma

Getting fat with the wife. Absolutely loves the all-consuming, indulgent world of cinema.