Adalynn Image


By Alan Ng | March 22, 2023

Jake Byrd’s directorial debut, Adalynn, delves into the psyche of a new mother fighting to keep her sanity during a bout of severe postpartum depression. Sydney Carvill plays Adalynn, who just gave birth to a baby girl after losing her first baby not so long ago during childbirth. In fact, the first loss was so deeply traumatic, Adalynn developed a severe form of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

To ensure that her pregnancy would be safe for the baby, Adalynn stopped taking her OCD medication under the supervision of her obstetrician (Rob Shuster) and physician husband, Bill (Wade Baker). However, now that the baby is born, Adalynn is still unable to return to her meds as she is breastfeeding.

Everything about motherhood seems to be going great, but Bill’s cross-country trip for a medical conference couldn’t have come at a worse time. With the baby crying more than ever, the lack of sleep, and being off her medication, Adalynn’s OCD behavior returns. She soon begins to experience signs of Postpartum Depression. Then, of course, as Adalynn struggles with sheer physical exhaustion from a lack of sleep coupled with mental fatigue, she begins hearing a small child’s voice which morphs into hallucinations involving her baby.

Adalynn is a strong, though flawed, start for first-time horror director Byrd. The strength of Adalynn comes from Jerrod D. Britto’s script. The lead’s horrific journey through her postpartum depression makes her a highly relatable character to root for. The film takes all the elements of the subject matter and finds horror elements that slide seamlessly between dreams and reality.

With the baby crying more than ever, the lack of sleep, and being off her medication, Adalynn’s OCD behavior returns.”

Carvill gives a standout performance in a highly complex role. She navigates through her various states of mental health with seeming ease. Carvill exceptionally portrays Adalynn’s struggle to stay off her OCD meds and her feeling of being lost in her own mind.

The flaws of Adalynn have more to do with its low budget and possibly because this is the director’s freshman outing. Many of the effects just fell short of the mark. The baby was clearly not real, though still better than Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper. This lessens the impact when the baby is intentionally not supposed to be a newborn. I get that in certain scenes, you couldn’t use a real one (for its safety and availability), but finding solutions for these problems is the mark of a good indie filmmaker.

However, the editing is top-notch and effective. But, on the other hand, the sound left a lot to be desired. When you have a disembodied voice as a main feature of the thrills, it’s not enough just to add it like a voiceover track. You’ve got to play with it and treat it like a spirit floating around the room. Certainly, attempts were made to do this with the fake baby and the sound, but the final result does not feel authentic.

Adalynn is not perfect, and its flaws are noticeable. Yet, if you can set aside its low-budget flaws, the film stands firm thanks to a solid story and a great performance from its lead, Sydney Carvill. You’re certainly in for a fun ride in this psychological thriller.

Adalynn will be available on March 28 on digital and DVD.

Adalynn (2023)

Directed: Jacob Byrd

Written: Jerrod D. Brito

Starring: Sydney Carvill, Wade Baker, Rob Shuster, Janet Carter, etc.

Movie score: 6.5/10

Adalynn Image

"…top-notch and effective."

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