The symbol of the all-sacrificing mother is a strong one in society. The mother who will do anything for their children at the expense of themselves is the image women are taught to strive forever despite recent pushback. But what happens when a mother’s sacrifice and work to protect their children goes too far? What happens if that protection causes more harm than good to not just himself, but to everyone around him? This is what Hulu and Blumhouse aim to explore in the horror anthology series INTO THE DARK’s Mother’s Day themed episode titled ALL THAT WE DESTROY.
The episode focuses on a geneticist (Samantha Mathis) who is trying to do everything in her power to find a way to curb her son’s murderous impulses so he doesn’t wreak havoc on society. Her solution? She decides to make clones of his first murder victim to see if this will ease his urges. However, in the beginning, her son (Israel Broussard) is frustrated over the lack of replicating that feeling he received from the first murder victim (Aurora Perrineau). Once the two start to dabble on making the clone seem more well-rounded like a person, that is when progress is being made. This is when the geneticist starts to wonder if this may be a new form of rehabilitation for those like her son. Unfortunately, this is when things start going wrong for the duo and the audience begins to watch the lengths a mother will go to control and protect her son.
As always, I’m going to try to keep things as spoiler-free as I can. This was a doozy of an episode for me personally because there is a lot of subtle, social horror within the realm of this piece. The horror of this piece may be lost on some viewers because it’s way more subtle, especially if one compares it to the previous episode I’M JUST F*CKING WITH YOU. If I were to compare it to anything to give the viewer context, I would say that this could honestly be an episode straight from Black Mirror in terms of the execution, pacing, social analysis, etc. However, there is a lot of material to chew on and this film will leave many people thinking of the wide social ramifications if such a scenario took place in reality. Even more so, because we’re still very much in the beginning stages of tackling cloning, the ethics behind genetic testing, and more.
On a thematic level, there is so much to digest. I would be remiss if I didn’t address how we have a more prominent example of how science oftentimes uses people of color or underprivileged individuals in the name of science and rehabilitation. While it is not explicitly mentioned that this is the case throughout the entirety of the film, knowing that the mother was using the body of a woman of color without her consent continuously in order to curb her son’s violent tendencies instead of getting him actual help was really difficult to swallow. Director Chelsea Stardust handles this topic with care and subtlety, working the material in such a way to not push the viewer away but to focus on the growing horror at hand.
There is also the matter of discussion concerning the rehabilitation of those with violent behaviors. In this particular episode, we see using clones as a way to curb the violent impulses from trickling out into society. Because of how the episode was written by Sean Keller and Jim Agnew, the audience is easily able to picture how this could potentially be done in a semi-realistic fashion. However, it brings into question the ethics behind using genes from those who have died in order to help others. And it is definitely something that will make many think after the conclusion of the film.
Overall, ALL THAT WE DESTROY is a subtly powerful episode that aims to show us how far a mother’s love for her child will go and what unethical lengths she will take to ensure that his life and – ultimately her life is better as a result. Writers Keller and Agnew weave a tale that is both socially relevant and subtly horrifying. The acting performances delivered by all help keep the piece rooted in a reality that is easier to accept as real within the realms of the slightly futuristic episode while the direction from Stardust helps deliver a film that will linger in your mind after the credits are done rolling.
The new Mother’s Day themed episode ALL THAT WE DESTROY will be available tomorrow on Hulu.
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