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Nanny - Everything You Need To Know

2022 gave us a good dozen memorable horror films, and Prime Video joined the conversation with "Nanny."  A psychological horror combining thriller and drama elements (and some hints of romance and comedy with an eerie, ghostly sense of guilt and tension) it's a movie that's a subtler take on the genre, with dark clouds of mold blooming over walls and insects skittering over skin. Love, motherhood, and prophetic dreams all share a piece of the pie, with the delights and subsequent nightmares that chasing the American dream can provide for someone who has recently entered the country.

"Nanny" ends the horror genre in 2022 with a bang, in more ways than one. We previously listed it as one of the most anticipated horror releases to watch for the end of 2022. The movie got a limited theatrical release on November 23, 2022 and went to Amazon Prime Video on December 16. Here's everything you need to know about "Nanny."

What is the plot of Nanny?

Per both the film's trailer and its pre-release press blurb, the film centers itself around Aisha (Anna Diop), who has emigrated from Senegal to build a better life for herself and her son, Lamine (Jahleel Kamara). Becoming a nanny for a rich white couple named Amy and Adam (Michelle Monaghan and Morgan Spector), Aisha settles in to their luxurious Manhattan townhouse and sets about caring for their young daughter, Rose (Rose Decker). She even begins to build a romance with Malik (Sinqua Walls), who she meets by happenstance one day. Lamine's absence stalks her constantly, and she only hopes that she can make her family complete sometime in the future.

But all is not well in Amy and Adam's household, and Aisha soon learns more about the malevolence lurking under the picture-perfect surface of the marriage. Amy turns controlling and begins to withhold money from Aisha. Soon Aisha begins having surreal nightmares which portend great doom for both Lamine and herself. Can she manage to escape the situation and bring her son to a rosier place?

Who is stars in Nanny?

Per IMDb, "Nanny" stars Anna Diop of "Us" and "Titans" fame as Aisha. Sinqua Walls of "Friday Night Lights," "Teen Wolf," and "Once Upon a Time" plays Aisha's love interest, Malik. Jahleel Kamara plays Aisha's son, Lamine. Michelle Monaghan from "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and "Gone Baby Gone" and Morgan Spector from "Homeland" and "The Gilded Age" play the unhappy Amy and Adam, with Rose Decker as their daughter, also named Rose. Acting legend Leslie Uggams ("Roots") shows up as Kathleen, with Olamide Candide-Johnson as Mariatou. The cast is rounded out by Princess Adenike, Zephani Idoko, Mitzie Pratt, Keturah Hamilton, Stephanie Jae Park, Ebbe Bassey, Alina Carson, Anna Quirino, Nate Archibald, and Michael Cuomo. 

Who directed Nanny?

Per her IMDb page, "Nanny" was both written and directed by Nikatu Jusu. This is her first full-length feature film. Her previous projects have included short films such as "Black Swan Theory," "Say Grace Before Dawn" and "Flowers." Per Deadline, she has signed to release another full-length feature through Universal and Monkeypaw Productions sometime in the future.

In an interview with Den of Geek, Jusu admitted a penchant for horror, and said she takes joy in twisting the everyday into the nightmarish. "The mundane is horrific for so many of us. I think in real life, you have a day where you're taking the train to work, and you're having an existential crisis about your entire life... we're constantly barraged with the precarity of our existence," she said. Jusu said that the film specifically underlines the way Aisha's trauma affects her behavior, saying, "I'm always thinking about the ways that Black women have to bite our tongues and swallow indignities and the toll that it takes on our spirits and our health and our bodies."

What is Nanny rated?

Per Rotten Tomatoes, "Nanny" has been rated R. The MPAA descriptors attached to the film's page declares that the movie has been rated this way due to "Brief Sexuality/Nudity and Some Language." That definitely means "Nanny" isn't appropriate for children or even younger teens. With its apparently complex plotline, this appears to be a horror film best suited to grown-ups. 

"Nanny" won't be the first Prime Studios film to be rated R; in fact, as of this writing, many of the studio's films, including the thriller "Run Sweetheart Run," its remake of the horror film "Goodnight Mommy," and the romantic drama "My Policeman" have been released in R-rated cuts. What that means for the rest of the films on its slate, and what bearing that might have on the future of "Nanny" with audiences worldwide, remains to be seen. But hopefully, it will capture the imaginations of audiences.

How did critics and audiences respond to Nanny?

Critics and audiences are fairly divided over "Nanny." The movie has a certified fresh rating of 89% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but the audience score sits at a much lower 46%. Many critics praised Nikatu Jusu's directorial debut, saying it was a great first outing and that she has skill in the genre. Anna Diop is also praised for her performances, with some critics suggesting she carries the whole film on her shoulders. 

The audience's biggest gripe seems to lie with the genre. The movie was marketed as a horror film, but many viewers are suggesting it feels more like a psychological thriller. It seems fans of the genre were disappointed as they thought they were tuning into one thing but got something else entirely. "Nanny" also has a 5.2/10 rating on IMDb.