Movie: Goodnight Mommy
My Rating: 4 stars
Now this is a very scary movie. And, not for the usual reasons. This is an Austrian horror film, but the scares don’t come from a horrible monster, or gory violence, or anything like that. It’s more of an intense uneasiness that comes from suspecting that something is very very wrong, but not being able to put your finger on why. The story drops us in the middle of a very tense household. Both the mother and the kids (twin boys) are behaving very strangely toward each other. It’s like they don’t trust each other. And, it’s up to the audience to figure out why. The story is very well written, and I can honestly say that the movie had me guessing right up ‘til the end. You don’t find that very often these days.
The sinister tone of the movie is helped along by some very dark imagery. Death is everywhere in this film. And, it reveals itself in very unexpected places. On it’s face, this story is just about a lazy summer spent at a family’s country home. The boys are free to roam the outdoors, exploring the forest, lakes, and remote corners of the village. But of course, when little boys are involved, that means capturing and killing a fair amount of bugs and small animals. And then, mom gets to spend the summer resting and recovering from her drastic, facial, plastic surgery. It looks like it’s taken quite a toll on her. She’s snappish and short tempered. And, she’s really quite terrible to look at. Her face appears bloody and bruised under all her bandages. And, the boys immediately distrust this strange, scary creature. In fact, they start imagining that this bandaged presence in their home isn’t their real mother at all—that she’s been replaced by something evil. And, that’s the kind of idea that’d plant itself in the back of your mind and give you nightmares. It translates to an uneasiness in the pit of the viewers’ stomachs.
This is a sneakily scary horror film. The dread creeps up on you, and grows steadily throughout the story. I really enjoyed it, and I’m pretty seasoned when it comes to horror movies. I’m a little hard to impress these days, so when I’m surprised by a movie, it’s really notable. So, I definitely recommend this movie to all horror fans out there. It is German-language, so you need to be prepared to read subtitles. But you know how that goes. You forget you’re even doing it after a few minutes. Plus, it’s not like you’re going to want to look away from the screen for long.