Paul Mescal and Emily Watson in God's Creatures

Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer Talk Denial and Pain in ‘God’s Creatures’

There are moments in our lives that challenge the way we view ourselves, our loved ones, and our reality as a whole and that’s what the latest A24 film God’s Creatures poses to its audience. When Aileen (Emily Watson) is over the Moon because her son Brian (Paul Mescal) is home, she’s confronted with the truth about her boy and his actions in a way that forces her to reflect on her own sense of priority and self. It’s a hard truth to unpack and one that is beautifully told in the Irish countryside.

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Talking with directors Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer about the film, the two created an eerie film with all the beats we’ve come to expect from A24 films while not being obvious about where the story is going. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and when you see the lengths that Aileen is willing to go for Brian and how she comes to terms with things, it is a fascinating journey from start to finish.

I asked both Holmer and Davis what inspired them to make the film in the first place and bring the tale to life, and it was cool to hear Holmer talk about how they wanted this to feel like something of a ghost story while you’re watching it.

“Saela and I, from the very beginning started to speak about this film as kind of the making of a ghost story,” Holmer said. “And the things that are truly terrifying in our film aren’t fantastical or beast from another realm. It’s actually people you know and love that you sit across from the dining room table with. And we were really interested in how we could mix that sense of dread, that sense of tone and other worldly feeling with kind of the brutality of the mundane of the everyday. So that was something that was really at the heart of making this film from the very beginning.”

Davis went on to talk about how the character of Aileen drew them both into the project:

And it was, for us, kind of what drew us in was this character Aileen, you know, as a woman, as a mother who essentially makes a choice to protect her son. But eventually it causes pain and suffering for this other woman, Sarah, who is her friend. And we really wanted to kind of dive in deep and explore her psychology. Like what leads her to make this choice. And eventually she begins to kind of recalibrate her moral compass and really like it’s a response to, you know, we talked about these cycles of trauma that exist within this community but also other communities and Aileen’s choice eventually is to break those cycles of trauma. And that’s also kind of the horror. She exists within this space that has perpetuated these ideas. And she kind of has to make a choice against that.

A24’s God’s Creatures is in theaters now.

(featured image: A24)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her current obsession is Glen Powell's dog, Brisket. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.