REVIEW: ‘Goodnight Mommy’ (2014)

Goodnight MommyTitle: ‘Goodnight Mommy’
2014, Austria
Director: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Cast: Lukas Schwarz, Elias Schwarz, Susanne Wuest

Elias and Lucas are twin brothers. When their mother comes home after getting facial surgery, the children seem to be convinced that the woman is an impostor.

‘Goodnight Mommy’ starts as a real slow burner. Half-way through the film, I thought: “Ok, this is a psychological thriller, a good psychological thriller, but it’s no horror movie”. Man, was I wrong.

The script repeatedly and ambiguously reverses the roles of victims and victimizers, constantly keeping the audience on edge. The horror elements are introduced little by little, in an increasingly disturbing descent into madness, and there is nothing more terrifying than a monster wearing the face of a loved one, of a family member. The violence in itself is not particularly gory, but the way it’s acted and its context make it absolutely nerve-wracking. The lack of gore actually plays in favor of the film’s realism. When was the last time you watched a horror movie that didn’t require an absurd amount of suspension of disbelief? Yes, there is that 100% obvious plot twist you’ll see coming from the very first sequence. But it’s one minor flaw in an otherwise brilliant product.

Horror and thriller fans are advised: don’t let yourself miss out on ‘Goodnight Mommy’.

★★★★☆

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