Goodnight Mommy (2014)

R   |    |  Horror, Mystery, Thriller


Goodnight Mommy (2014) Poster

Twin boys move to a new house with their mother after she has face-changing cosmetic surgery, but under the bandages is someone the boys don't recognize.


6.7/10
44,294

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18 August 2015 | ronnieg-107-128974
8
| A creepy little horror-thriller for the discerning horror fans who don't crave cheap, gimmicky thrills!
Movie Gems' Review of a modern horror film ... Goodnight Mommy (aka Ich seh, Ich seh) {2014}. No spoilers!

When the trailer for Austrian horror flick "Goodnight Mommy" hit the Internet not that long ago it promptly went viral. The intriguing trailer, blessed with superb editing, got hardcore horror fans majorly "excited" ... but ... the trailer somewhat skews the real "character" of the film.

Horror fans that crave in-your-face, major scares in a movie within the genre will be very disappointed with Goodnight Mommy. It is plain and simple not that kind of horror film: in many ways it is an intensely creepy psychological-thriller with intense horror moments thrown in. The movie too is very typically European in its execution: a leisurely pace in the story telling, very controlled camera movement and the insightful framing of shots.

It is Summer and in an isolated and beautiful house in the countryside, between woods and corn fields, live nine-year-old twin brothers, Elias (Elias Schwarz) and Lukas (Lukas Schwarz). The twins are inseparable; they are very enigmatic; they keep large bugs as pets. They live with their mother (Susanne Wuest) who has recently returned home from apparent cosmetic surgery and her face is heavily bandaged. However, as far as the boys are concerned, nothing is like it was before she went away. They quickly begin to seriously doubt that this woman is actually their mother. And ... so begins their weird quest to find out the truth, a quest that involves the bizarre, the creepy and eventually the truly horrifying!

The tone, style and atmosphere of the piece blend cohesively to create feelings of unease and creepiness from the first frame to the last. Lacking any background soundtrack for most the film and any real over-the-top scares, it still has quite a few very disturbing moments especially in the last ten minutes or so.

The acting, from which is mostly an ensemble cast of three, is uniformly sound, particularly from the boys as there emotions are so frequently communicated via facial expressions and gestures rather than words.

And ... is there a twist? Of course there is! Unfortunately for me, I worked out what would eventually be revealed in the first ten minutes or so. That is not to say that I am ultra- perceptive; it's just that another early 70's film (one of my all time faves actually) used precisely the same premise so I had a "heads up" so to speak. I do admit that the film was spoiled for me because of this, but I still enjoyed it immensely! When the twist is revealed, however, it clearly shows that the film (despite its harrowing complexities) is really only about one thing ... and that one thing is very sad indeed!

Goodnight Mommy is pure Art-house horror as far as I am concerned because of the way the story is told and the cinematic techniques employed to showcase it. For example directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz have "done a Kubrick" in the final shot: it is far too long, it breaks all the cinematic rules, it makes no sense and then (in the hands of competent direction) it makes complete sense!

Goodnight Mommy is for the discerning horror movie lover who doesn't want everything dished up on a plate and who wants an intense psychological "journey" with a plausible payoff at the end.

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$63,641 13 September 2015

Gross USA:

$1,178,196

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,193,474

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