Even though its writer and star is Broad City’s Ilana Glazer, and her director/co-writer is Wonder Showzen’s John Lee, False Positive isn’t the kind of horror-comedy that goes for big scares and big laughs. In fact, one could argue that the new A24 film (by way of Hulu) isn’t going for the latter half of that genre equation at all, instead employing a wry and dry satirical lens to pregnancy and body autonomy, crafting an unsettling update to Rosemary’s Baby.
There are, however, plenty of moments of winking, sardonic humor to be found within False Positive’s eerie atmosphere. In one notable example, Glazer’s Lucy is now successfully—and surprisingly—pregnant when she experiences something strange happening to her body. It’s late and she’s alone, so she does what any normal person would do: Search the internet for answers. The next day, she shares this with her fertility specialist, Dr. Hindle (Pierce Brosnan), who coolly insists, “There’ll be no more Googling.” It’s brief, but Brosnan’s velvety brogue makes a meal of it—something in the way he annunciates “Googling.” But even in its short bursts of levity, False Positive reveals its deeper themes; with access to the unlimited information of the web, Lucy’s personal search for answers threatens Dr. Hindle’s control over her. In the film’s slightly surreal world, just about everyone’s trying to sap power away from this working mother-to-be—that it’s a reality barely removed from our own makes it all the more terrifying.
Like many of A24's horror offerings, False Positive’s scares are thematically fertile (pun intended), so The A.V. Club asked its cast about how the movie spoke to them and why the genre is so well-suited to social and cultural commentary. In the video above, Ilana Glazer—who is, as of this publish date, 38 weeks pregnant with her first child—Sophia Bush, and Zainab Jah revealed their own relationship with WebdMD and taking to the internet for answers, and discussed both the truths and fuzziness of “mommy brain.”
False Positive begins streaming exclusively on Hulu on June 25.