Films with Family Secrets

Nathalie Emmanuel in The Invitation (2022)

To coincide with the recent release of The Invitation in UK and Irish cinemas. I’ve decided to look at films that have families with secrets. Below is a list of films that involve family secrets, as ever they are in particular order and it’s only a selection of films.

What Josiah Saw (2022)

Robert Patrick stars as Josiah, the ather of the estranged family living with his son Scott in the farmhouse which many believe is haunted. Josiah suffers from haunting visions and attempts to put rights to wrongs. His eldest two children also return in hope to end this nightmarish chapter of their lives for good. It’s obvious the family has a lot of sins which possibly saw the eldest children to leave home. The death of their mother was she the only one who did not sin or the reason the kids left home? American Southern gothic at it’s best, atmospheric and chilling.

Three Identical Strangers (2018)

The unbelievable story of triplets Eddy, David and Bobby who didn’t realise they each existed until they were 19. They where media sensation on the television when they all met each other.. Everything starts as a feel good story only for things to take a dark twisted turn when it came to regard of their birth parents.

Ready Or Not (2019)

When the woman marries the man of her dreams, it should be the start of her new life. Not in this one The LoDomas family made their name as a family creating and selling board games. Thanks to tradition someone who marries into the family they must play a game .Grace (Samara Weaving) draws a card and has to play Hide & Seek. For 24hours Grace run and hide and survive the night and if she does she will be welcomed with open arms into the family. The film was directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett who would go onto to direct the recent new Scream film. The Invitation in a way was inspired by this, wickedly fun gory film with some savage kills.

Capturing The Friedmans (2004)

Another astonishing true story and of Arnold Friedman who was a convicted child molester and the patriarch of the Friedman family. Arrested in 1987 when the U.S Postal service intercepted Child pornography . Andrew Jarecki’s harrowing documentary that chronicles a family torn apart, unsettling account of one man’s crime destroys the lives of his family forcing them to question their own self and memories. It was certainly not the way to conduct an abuse case, which saw Arnold’s son also accused of abuse.

We Are What We Are (2013)

A spin-off of 2010 Mexican horror thriller of the same name. This American version was released a few years later in 2013 premiering first at Sundance Film Festival stars Julia Garner, Amber Childers and Bill Sage. Twisted the story a little whilst following the same tropes. This is one film they say the less you know about the plot the better. It’s a slow burning horror drama which the family secret revolves around a family tradition.

Secrets & Lies (1996)

Mike Leigh’s Palme D’or winning drama with Marianne Jean-Baptise, Brenda Blethyn and Timothy Spall. After the death of a black woman’s adoptive parents she searches for her birth mother only to be surprised it’s a white woman Cynthia. It’s British suburban life and a subtle study of race and class. It’s a funny film as much as it’s poignant as it’s impossible keep those ‘family secrets’ at bay.

Dark River (2017)

British mystery drama directed by Clio Barnard (Ali & Ava, Selfish Giant) starring Ruth Wilson, Mark Stanley Sean Bean. loosely based on Rose Tremain’s novel Trespass, a woman returns to her father’s old farm a farm she fled 15 years previously only to get into a dispute with her brother. The family secret is sexual abuse.

The Celebration (1998)

Oscar winning Thomas Vinteberg’s powerful, searing dram, Which was one of the Danish film movement’s Dogme’ 95 manifesto. Family and friends of a wealthy man gather together to celebrate his 60th Birthday . What starts as a happy occasion descends into a farce when dark family secrets (abuse) are revealed. It catches everyone by surprise and off course denial takes centre stage and that the person they come to praise is nothing but a monster. Uncomfortable watch starring Ulrich Thomsen, Tryne Dyrholm, Thomas Bo Larsen.


Crimson Peak

Inheritance (Lily Collins, Simon Pegg)

Lonestar (1996, chris cooper, stephen lang, Kris Kristofferson)

Pixie (2021 Olivia Cooke, Ben Hardy, Daryl McCormack)

Pixar’s Encanto (2022)

The Godfather Trilogy

Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)

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