Bone Mother (Baba-Yaga Pronounced Correctly Folk Horror)


The horror industry should really dig into folklore more, from anywhere, and lose the jumpscares. I don’t mean dig in there, steal some stuff, and then claim it as one’s own, I mean let it reveal itself. Case in point this recent, animated, true-to-the-original short, Bone Mother, which draws on Russian folklore, in particular the famous child-eating witch of the forest who lives in a living, chicken-footed shack, Baba-Yaga (properly pronounced Baba-Yigah with stress on the last vowel, you provincial). Now that you know how to say it right, you can watch it right and impress your friends so very much more.


Baba-Yaga plays different roles in folklore, but in most examples she’s a deceptive sorceress who lives in a house framed by bones and who rides in a giant mortar and pestle. In Bone Mother her bone life is compromised by an arrogant youth who seeks to gain her powers, but in the end finds himself cursed when the Yaga exacts her revenge. Directors Dale Hayward and Sylvie Trouvé prove themselves more than capable in this stop-motion folktale. The utilization of light is especially impressive, as are the organic character expressions. I’m not sure why Baba-Yaga was chosen to make a Canadian film, but it doesn’t matter, folklore is meant to be shared. Bone Mother is a pleasingly terrifying blend of old traditions with modern style that doesn’t sever its original roots. Also it basically has a vampire in it.


National Film Board of Canada Official Facebook

Written by Stanley, Devourer of Souls

Bone Mother (2018)
Dale Hayward and Sylvie Trouvé (directors), NFB (distributor)
4.6 / 5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *