First Born (2007)

I wasn’t going to review this movie because I really was underwhelmed with it as a horror piece.

But then I found myself wanting to scream at the computer ‘THIS IS WHY THE **** WE NEED TO BE TALKING ABOUT POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION’.

In part this is why I love horror, because we get open up conversations about things that we don’t talk about otherwise. I won’t call this a feminist horror piece, because there’s still a little too much masculine in this, as in, I’m not actually sure that we’re supposed to feel sorry for the lead as much as I actually do. Maybe it’s because depression is one of the things that I drag around in my personal invisible suitcase (how many feminist theoretical cliches can I shove into this review?) but I just want to scream at screen, ‘Steven, this isn’t about you or your job or your life anymore, stop acting like your wife weaponized her mental state to just get back at you.’

What I do find in this film are echoes of conversations I’ve had with women over the past decade. Conversations about lose of self after childbirth. Conversations about depression and hopelessness and feeling lost. Conversations about fears of the future, both their own and their children. Conversations about the nastier sides of motherhood that I’m hoping people are actually starting to open up about. There’s a phone conversation where the lead asks her mother how she felt after having her, and the mother replies ‘like shit.’ that’s a literal quote.

Maybe someday we can stop talking about this in horror films and start having this conversation for real.


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