There are filmmakers who, with each project they tackle, make it clear what they are coming for by knocking on the audience’s door. That is, what are their narrative interests, their purposes on screen and, perhaps, their manners as filmmakers: the style, if they had it. For now, from the Indo-American Aneesh Chaganty (n. 1991) we can suppose that impact stories that subvert clichés or assumptions that are the result of custom are to him. And it does so both at the level of concepts and audiovisual format. Serve his only two feature films, Searching (2018) and Mom Loves You (2020) to support our assumptions.
Although in Searching and Mommy loves you, altered parental roles are used, different from what is usually considered normal, the situation and the protagonism are opposite
The first is a powerful proposal, an intriguing story built through the screens of computers and smartphones, with elements and routines known to all. In the style of Eliminado (Levan Gabriadze, 2014), but more heterogeneous and with its premise much better used, or the episode “Connection Lost” (6×16) of the Modern Family series (Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, 2009-2020). The viewer is quickly hooked during the summary of his family prologue, and a few clever swings from the booklet signed by Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian you are satisfied with yours until the conclusion.
The intensity of Sarah Paulson
And we can maintain that Mama loves you, for her part, is the other side of the Searching coin on parent-child relationships in a sense. In fact, it has been rewritten in four hands by the same pair of two, which may translate into a permanent collaboration. Time will tell. And, although both films use altered paternal roles, different from what is usually considered normal, the situation and the protagonism are opposite. It almost seems that Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian have considered offering variations on the complex issue of parents and children.
New Yorker Kiera Allen plays Chloe Sherman with a great conviction that her nightmare is believable at all times
Practically the entire film is based on the work of its two main actresses. New Yorker Kiera Allen embodies Chloe Sherman with a great conviction that her nightmare is believable at all times, and we had only seen her before in the short Ethan and Skye (Daniel Healey and Danny Maldonado, 2014). And the floridana Sarah Paulson repeats with another one of those intense roles of fearsome women that she is so good at, playing Diane Sherman. Let’s remember his characters in American Horror Story (Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, since 2011) or Ratched (Murphy and Evan Romansky, since 2020).
There is no doubt that Aneesh Chaganty is very aware of the genre of her new film, which is evident from the beginning by his expressive planning, his editing decisions, and the alarming chord of the soundtrack by Torin Borrowdale (Locke and Key), who has already provided him with Searching. All this serves exclusively to emphasize the concern that you want to instill in the public, with a very decent performance. The secrets that lie behind the peaceful family life of the female protagonists are beginning to be discovered with subtle details and an unclean Hitchcockian spirit, and then explode in full magnitude, with a rather elegant climax that flees from tremendousism.
Aneesh Chaganty can’t make the tension come from sitting on the edge of the chair and biting her nails, but she confirms her promising future with this terrifying new thriller
Thanks to the revelations that are produced, the work takes on a complete meaning. The set, on the other hand, brings to mind such sensational films as Misery (Rob Reiner, 1990) or even What the truth hides (Robert Zemeckis, 2000) without any ghostly bouquet. There are its obvious parallels in key ingredients and even specific scenes. But Mommy loves you is not up to her standards. And this does not mean that it is a bad film, or not even worthy of contempt. What happens is that Aneesh Chaganty does not get the tension from sitting on the edge of the long-awaited armchair and biting her nails. And yet, with this new terrifying thriller, it confirms its promising future.
The article Criticism of ‘Mommy loves you’: a promising nightmare with two outstanding actresses was published in Explica.co.