Goodnight Mommy (2014): Quick-shot review!

goodnight-mommy-poster1A creepy and atmosheric Austrian horror film, Goodnight Mommy (2014, dir. Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala) recalls the existential dread of both childhood and parenthood, and the child’s attachment to its caregiver, in an extremely excruciating and tense manner. Its synopsis is as follows:

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. (source)

Goodnight Mommy is one of those horror films that doesn’t rely too much upon horror movie clichés. At the beginning of the film you see references to a lot of cliché’d horror film settings – a cornfield, a placid lake, a cemetery. But in this film, the horror is both set within the family home, and within the minds of two young twin boys – played to perfection by real life twins, Elias and Lukas Schwartz. Horror film twins have a reputation for being creepy and scary, and these kids are no exception.

goodnight-mommy-photos5

The film is directed so beautifully by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala. Every frame looks so gorgeous and beautifully measured, drawing your eye towards points of interest, even when you might want to look away from some highly gory imagery. The story develops with a somewhat slower pace, but once the serious action starts happening, the pacing really picks up – almost relentlessly so. There is also a strange mix of humour, one extremely awkward scene with Red Cross charity volunteers being a highlight.

My one criticism of this film would be the fairly cliché twist ending, which could be considered predictable although I didn’t pick it from the beginning. Even so, as someone who doesn’t enjoy a lot of horror films, I would definitely suggest watching Goodnight Mommy. It has just the right balance between paying homage to general horror themes, and paving its own way in terms of narrative – aside from the cliché twist that I didn’t see coming. Additionally, with its absolutely beautiful direction and cinematography, it walks a very delicate balance between wanting to watch the film’s visual beauty, yet feeling totally repelled by some of the horror content on screen. Highly recommended.

4.5/5
Watch the trailer here.

20 comments

  1. This movie sounds a whole lot of creepy.

      1. My kind of movie then.

  2. I spoiled the ending for myself awhile ago and decided to skip it, but with everyone giving it such positive reviews, I’ll have to check it out on DVD eventually.

    1. Oh no, I hate it when I do that. Still worth a watch though, it’s interesting to see how they reach the conclusion of the film!

  3. My husband just watched this And really liked it! 🙂

    1. I’m glad he enjoyed it! It’s a great horror slash thriller film.

  4. Sounds so creepy!

    1. It’s super creepy in a fairly classy and European horror film kind of way.

  5. Oh, so jealous you’ve seen this. I want to get my hands on it, but aside from maybe tracking down an illegal bootleg I have no idea how I’m going to do it. I have this nagging feeling the States won’t get it. 😦

    1. It is out on DVD I believe

    2. Good news, you can get it on iTunes in the US! So I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on it when you eventually see it! 😀

  6. Man, I so want to see this! I am so happy to see you enjoyed it so much.

    1. You should definitely see it! It’s one of the better horror films I’ve seen recently.

  7. Holy crap I need to jump on this! Sounds incredible!

    1. I have a feeling that you might really enjoy this!

  8. Starkly beautiful horror flick. As a mom of identical boys myself, I was on edge identifying with poor Mommy. Still, I loved this flick so much I watched it twice in a row to catch all the nuances I may have missed the first time. It’s a heart-pumping ride to be sure.

    1. Wow, I can’t imagine watching this as a mother of twins, that would have certainly been a very interesting viewing experience on top of how creepy it already is! I already feel the need to watch it again. What a film.

  9. markkadams · · Reply

    I thought it was terrific, up to the ending — which ruined it.

    1. It really was a bit of a horror movie cliche, wasn’t it?

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