What is the Monster in Matriarch? Is Celia Dead?

Written and directed by Ben Steiner, ‘Matriarch’ is part of Hulu’s offering for the 2022 Halloween. The plot follows Laura Birch (Jemima Rooper), a young, successful ad executive who struggles with serious cocaine addiction. After a horrible experience of overdosing, she mysteriously survives. Laura has been estranged from her mother, Celia (Kate Dickie), because of the emotional abuse the older woman put her through when she was a child. However, when Laura discovers that Celia has reached out after all these years, she decides to go back to the village she grew up in, hoping that time away from her hectic life in the city will help her heal. But once she arrives in the village, she realizes that something is definitely wrong with the place.

The residents, including her mother, seem to have not aged a day since she last saw them. Soon after Laura’s arrival, Celia begins to demonstrate disturbing behavior. She drugs Laura and tries to drag her to her late husband’s greenhouse. It is later revealed that Celia holds an entity captive there, and she wants to sacrifice Laura to the said entity. Here is everything you need to know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Unveiling the Mystery Behind the Monster in Matriarch

In ‘Matriarch,’ Laura discovers that her body is falling apart after her overdose. The situation only worsens when she returns home. A dark patch suddenly appears on her arm, terrifying her. Laura eventually discovers that her mother has kept an entity/goddess captive in the greenhouse that once belonged to her father. Celia uses the power she has taken from the goddess to establish a cult, and all residents of the village except Abi’s father, who is a devout Christian, are its members. During their rituals, Celia feeds her followers blood from her breasts, which is the main reason for their youthful appearances.

In an October 2022 interview with Geek Girl Authority, Steiner revealed the inspiration behind the goddess in the film is actually a monster, the Worm Eater. “It’s based on a male monster called the Worm Eater,” the filmmaker stated. “The Worm Eater was the original type of matriarch I’ve drawn on several times over the years and is a demonic, anti-father who menaces his son at night with this mouthful of worms and weird tentacle thing. He wanted to be involved in this. But when he came into the arena, he became female.”

Later, Steiner discovered that by creating the characters of the goddess Laura and Celia, he had accidentally chanced upon an archetypical metaphor. “It was only late that I realized that with the goddess, the “mother,” the Laura character, and Celia character, I had inadvertently written, or conjured, the triple goddess archetype of Maiden/Mother/Crone. Laura is the Maiden, and Celia is the Crone. Then, the goddess is the Mother,” Steiner explained.

Celia’s Tragic Fate

At the start of the film, Celia’s husband sacrifices himself in what looks like the sacred pond of the goddess. He had been unable to give Celia a child, but because of his sacrifice, Laura’s birth happened. She is a child of the goddess born from Celia’s womb.

Before the start of the film’s timeline, Celia realized that the power she had been stealing from the goddess had receded significantly. She calls Laura and convinces her to return so she can sacrifice the goddess’ own daughter to her. Unfortunately for Celia and her followers, the plan doesn’t work. The goddess refuses the sacrifice and Laura breaks the seal that kept her captive, freeing her. Laura eventually kills Celia in front of Celia’s rotting and dying followers in the very church the latter established for herself.

Read More: Is Matriarch (2022) Based on a True Story or a Book?