In the heat of the summer, a lonesome house in the countryside between woods and corn fields, lives nine-year-old twin brothers who are waiting for their mother. When she comes home, bandaged after cosmetic surgery, nothing is like before. The children start to doubt that this woman is actually their mother. It emerges an existential struggle for identity and fundamental trust.
Genre : Horror
Country : Austria
Susanne Wuest : Mother
Elias Schwarz : Elias
Lukas Schwarz : Lukas
Director : Severin Fiala,Veronika Franz
My opinion about “Goodnight Mommy”
“Sie ist so anders …”
Apparently Austria has more to offer than just Tiroler films with an original title like “Auf die alm mit drei lustige blonde mädels”, Milka, Edelweiss and Schwarzenegger. This psychological horror film proves it. It isn’t exactly special and original. Let’s say I wasn’t blown away. Not like the first time I heard the sound produced by an Alpenhorn. The design is so tight and sober as the interior of the house where Lukas (Luke Schwarz) and Elias (Elias Schwarz) live. Twins who, which is normal with twins, eerily look alike. You rather can call them Siamese twins because one can’t be without the other.
When their mother (Susanne Wuest) comes back home, after a stay in the hospital, the attitude of the twins towards her isn’t as you’d expect. A wary, aloof attitude. You could even call it hostile. The two young boys claim that she isn’t their real mother and every time they ask the same question : “Where’s mum?”. But there are several indications that something is wrong in this Austrian family. The strict rules imposed by the mother. The two lads who explore the area without parental supervision. They play in corn fields, dark caves and explore a place full of human bones. Their introverted behavior. And one of them refuses to talk with his mother. The collection of scary, dirty giant cockroaches in a terrarium. The storage of a huge amount of frozen pizzas. And Lukas and Elias show more of those sinister traits as the film progresses.
I like arty horrors which usually try to avoid the traditional path of this genre. The visual aspect is certainly successful, but the storyline has been used several times. Ultimately, there are only two scary moments in this film. First, the beginning of the film where we have some kind of Von Trapp family singing an Austrian lullaby. It scared me to death because for a moment I thought I accidentally started “The Sound of Music“. And secondly a surreal scene with the mother walking naked through the woods and experiencing an obscure, demonic state.
This last fragment made sure I was even more convinced that this was the core of the story. However, I was completely wrong when seeing the showdown. Even though I read everywhere that there were already clues early in the film that indicate what it’s all about, I have to admit I didn’t notice them. So this was a rather surprising twist for me. Obviously after that some things became clearer. Other things however stayed vague and unexplained. You can only speculate about that. What did happen to the mother actually ? Was it a rehabilitation or was it cosmetic surgery? Was this the reason for having a divorce? Of course you can guess what actually happened, after seeing the big reveal.
In general, the performances were credible and at times even excellent. The twins were disturbing creepy. The mother was convincing helpless. Except the scene with those people of the Red Cross (horribly acted and directed pitiful) the acting part was exceptionally good. My biggest criticism is that the trailer raised my expectations but they weren’t delivered. A typical case of overhyping. What remains is a solid psychological thriller with a paranormal event and also a bit of torture porn (not exactly my favorite genre) full of childlike sadism (this is the first time I witness the use of superglue and the consequences of it afterwards grossly exaggerated and implausible). Family terror growing into frightening proportions. This movie confirms my golden rule: ignore trailers and never trust their content!