Movie Review: Goodnight Mommy (2015)

Posted: June 2, 2016 in horror

goodnight mommy

Lukas (Lukas Schwarz) and Elias (Elias Schwarz) are living with their mother (Susanne Wuest) in a stylish resort house in Austria.  Mother has had some reconstructive surgery, so she’s got bandages all over her face.  The mother warns  the kids not to bring animals into the house, while she’s recuperating,  so naturally, the kids bring a cat into the house, and the cat ends up dead.  Lucas and Elias surmise that this can’t be their mother, that this woman with her new face and cruel demeanor is someone or something else.  They run away from home, to the town to find a priest (Hans Escher) to help them, but the priest only takes them back home.  Is this woman really Lucas’ and Elias’ mother?  Do they get anyone to believe them?

Goodnight Mommy is a horrible movie.  It is so filled with misogyny and sadism that I could barely believe my eyes.  The violence is so unnecessary, and so beyond the pale, that I lost all sense of story and nuance and just became angry at whoever wrote this monstrous screenplay, and so I will name them, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala.  I am shocked that one of the writers of this garbage is a woman, I guess I should not be.  I saw the movie Audition and the violence in that movie made more sense in context than the violence in this movie.  Sadly, when I see torture perpetrated by Germanic types, I’m reminded of Nazi atrocities in WWII, I’m sure that’s the last memory that Austrians want to evoke.  The writing is also so sparse in detail that the viewer has to put the pieces together, and there is still a lot missing.  The ideas are not original either. The violence is something out of Misery,  the twist ending borrows a lot from The 6th Sense, and also Fight Club.  The last scene tries to redeem the movie with some pseudo-religious imagery, but by then it’s far too late to save this movie from its own violent excesses. The writers had a good premise, and blew it to bits, or should I say burned it to the ground? Last, but not least, it is not scary, not in the least, it builds up some suspense, and fritters it away.

The acting is ok, the twins are robotically stoic, the mom is understandably strict and at the same time vulnerable.  The acting is nothing extraordinary.

Whatever problems this movie has, it’s not with the direction, from the first shot in the corn fields this movie’s visuals hook the viewer and don’t let go. Here’s the thing, the directors are the writers, they are obviously much better directors than writers.  Franz and Fiala try to make an arthouse horror film, and while I’m not a fan of the genre blending, the visuals make this movie appealing.

Goodnight Mommy: Good riddance!


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