Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra’s Good Manners (As boas maneiras) is many films in one. Set in one of those gorgeous high rise buildings of São Paulo, this horror fairy tale finds Clara, a nanny from the outskirts of the city, applying for a job with Anna, a mysterious wealthy — and very pregnant — young woman. As the two bond during Anna’s late pregnancy months, skirting the line of propriety, the dangers lurking in the shadows of the story soon become more and more apparent. The one clue we’re given early on? Anna’s cravings for raw meat (blood, really) and night-walking stints coincide with a full moon, and may explain why she’s terrified of what kind of baby she’s carrying.
But to reveal more about where this sleek and stylish Brazilian flick takes you, and how it combines social commentary within a lesbian werewolf storyline would be to do it a disservice. Instead, its Rosemary’s Baby vibes deserve to be seen on the big screen, its take on class politics dissected in real time, its nail-biting tension experienced firsthand. Equally terrifying in its pristine baby-blued daytime scenes as in its slate-hued nighttime ones, Good Manners is a slow-burn of a horror movie that you’ll have a hard time shaking off.
Talking about their drama, its directors mentioned how influenced they were by films that mix genres, citing classic Disney movies as key inspirations. “Snow White, Dumbo and Bambi use music, horror and fantasy to address complex themes like envy, loneliness and puberty,” they shared. “We wanted to follow this model, but bring our own contemporary themes into the story: sexual desire, what defines a family, the metamorphosis of the body.” The result is nothing short of fascinating. And if you want a taste of what Rojas and Dutra have conjured up, be sure to catch this lullaby-filled trailer below.
Good Manners opens on July 27, 2018 at the IFC Center in NY and on August 17, 2018 at Laemmle Royal in LA, followed by other cities.