Coming Soon to Shudder
Spoonful of Sugar is a psychological horror about a young babysitter with unique ideas for treating health issues and an even more unusual personal history. The film eerily starts out with a lyrically twisted version of “Oh My Darling Clementine” as Millicent rides a bus, heading to a job interview. Audiences immediately realize there’s something off about her. While interviewing for a position as a babysitter, viewers – as well as the child’s mother – confirm there’s definitely something peculiar, albeit enthusiastic, about her demeanor. The young boy has an array of severe health problems. He cannot speak and doesn’t seem fond of human interaction, but quickly becomes attached to Millie during her initial interview, landing her the job.
Nothing Normal This Way Comes
As Millie states, “not everyone is who they appear to be” and truer words cannot be said about these unique characters. Audiences will quickly be able to decipher that nothing normal occurs in this household, but figuring out what exactly is the driving force behind this twisted plot. Each character is a fully fleshed out person, adding a sense of realism to an increasingly bizarre chain of events.
Morgan Saylor (Millicent) is convincing as a young woman experiencing a sexual awakening while trying to work through past traumas with the help of her therapist. Millie isn’t forthcoming with her new employers about her sordid past, but plays the role of their ideal babysitter quite well.
The young Danilo Crovetti (Johnny) does an outstanding job using only his superb face acting talents. Viewers will know what he’s thinking and experiencing without him uttering a single word. We can tell he’s not fond of his restrictive, yet covertly sexually deviant mother, perfectly portrayed by Kat Foster. Myko Olivier sells his role as Jacob, a caring father trying to do what’s best for his son’s condition while trying to maintain an apparently crumbling marriage.
Their motives, concerns, passions, and problems are realistic in the realm of this reality. But who truly can tell what reality is when the main character is dosing herself with LSD?
An LSD Trip into a Freudian Slip
The hallucinogenic visuals in Spoonful of Sugar are intense. What starts as a few strange hallucinations associated with her prescribed LSD regime turn more demonic and dangerous for those around her, as well as herself. Millie’s use of LSD is beautifully displayed with swirling scenes, dark and dangerous during her sexual fantasies, strikingly contrasting to the light serenity displayed during her moments of ecstasy while caring for the young boy. Her past experiences spiral into the forefront as she grows into both her sexuality, uncovering her true self, and as she finds true happiness in her newly appointed role as the boy’s faux mother.
Themes of religion, drug use, psychotherapy, trust, and healing run rampant in this film. As the lives of these characters intertwine more and more, these themes do as well. Acts of protection mingle with acts of manipulation, spawning tragic events driven by desperation. Millie just wants to be a good mother, at all costs, and goes to great lengths to protect the child in her charge.
Coming Soon to Shudder
Directed by Mercedes Bryce Morgan and written by Leah Saint Marie, Spoonful of Sugar originally premiered at Fantastic Fest in 2022, receiving great acclaim for this twisted tale. Streaming service Shudder snatched up the film even before its debut at the film festival, “With Spoonful of Sugar, Mercedes Bryce Morgan delivers an incisive psychological horror laced with nightmarish visions of hallucinogenic beauty. We can’t wait for Shudder members to take the trip,” states general manager of Shudder, Craig Engler. Shudder will release this psychotropic nightmare sometime March 2nd, 2023.
Spoonful of Sugar (2023) Official Shudder Trailer