Politics can be a horror show, so why not make it a real horror movie. In Luke Depalatis and Drew Texeira’s Mrs. Sanders, a high school teacher, is faced with a dire situation. She is deathly ill, and her insurance company won’t cover the procedure to save her life. Coincidentally, Mrs. Sanders (Noemi Zeigler) is an ardent Bernie Sanders supporter. When she goes online before class, she pulls up Bernie’s “Medicare For All” page and expresses her love and regrets to the (at this time) presidential candidate.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. As Mrs. Sanders’ biology students arrive for her class, she begins hatching a sinister plan. As she’s passing out graded exams, one of her top students (Drew Texeira) receives an “F” when clearly it was a perfect score. Before the student can complain, Mrs. Sanders tells him to bring it up to her “after class” and they’ll discuss it…over “coffee.”
“…she pulls up Bernie’s ‘Medicare For All’ page and expresses her love and regrets…”
The filmmakers brand Mrs. Sanders as a political horror, but I saw it more accurately as political satire. The ending, which I will not spoil, comes across as more ironic than scary. Its problem comes in not choosing definitively to be horror or satire in the final product. It straddles the line between the two, which ultimately muddied both genres.
If you want your film to be horror, then push the limits of the genre. I understand that there are certain limitations in producing horror and a next-to-nothing budget. Still, some tricks can be employed like playing with lighting, camera angles, heightening suspense, and pushing its fake gore up a level or two.
That said, as a satire, Mrs. Sanders just manages to work. It could have made more robust connections between the plot and its politics along the way, but ultimately it gets its point across with an ominous wink at the end. With his campaign on life support, maybe Mrs. Sanders can give it the jolt it needs to come alive.
Mrs. Sanders is available in its entirety below. Enjoy!
"…gets its point across with an ominous wink..."