Goodnight Mommy Review
In recent years, the western horror market has been dominated by cheaply made, jump scare fests which make a quick buck.
For horror fans such as myself, this change in format has left us having to venture to the east to find the scariest films out there. And this statement in validated even more with the release of Austria's entry for the Oscars Film not in the English Language, Goodnight Mommy.
Originally titled, "Ich Seh, Ich Seh" (I see, I see), Goodnight Mommy follows the story of two young twin brothers and their mother and a life-changing accident has left her requiring facial reconstruction surgery and the emotional and physical tole that this event throws upon the shoulders of this family.
When returning from her surgery and hiding behind her bandages, the mother seems to have had a dramatic personality shift. With the boys raising suspicions as to whether this really is their mother who has returned, you find yourself inside the minds of the characters as the story takes you on a roller coaster ride with plenty of twists and turns. The final act truly is a rare treat that will have you sinking deeper into your seat as the tone gets darker and more disturbing.
Fellow critics have drawn comparisons with the likes of Michael Haneke's "Funny Games", but I see (I see) more of a lingering presence of Korean Horror "A Tale of Two Sisters". The wonderfully creepy setting of an isolated house which seems to be in the middle of nowhere mixed with lingering shots of darkness leaves the audience in the shoes of our leads with the fear of the unknown. Its intuitive use of minimal amounts of dialogue relying mainly on characters body language and interactions with one another in order to convey history and relationships truly is a breath of fresh air. This allows the audience to emotionally attach to the characters portrayed on screen and treats us as intellectuals rather than having to spell everything out for all to understand.
The 35mm Cinematography superbly creates an isolating tone even when nothing impacting is happening on screen. I found myself throughout trying to work alongside the brothers in order to figure out what truly did happen to their mother and why this personality change had occurred.
If you are looking for an intelligent horror film that relies wholly on smart character interaction and not predictable jumpscares, then Goodnight Mommy most certainly is the film that you should seek out.