Review : Goodnight Mommy (2015)

Goodnight Mommy is an Austrian film directed by Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz. It was released in 2015 and won numerous awards in various festivals. Marketed as a horror movie, Goodnight Mommy is actually a psychological thriller and as far as I’m concerned, a film d’auteur.

Goodnight Mommy

Goodnight Mommy tells the story of Lukas and Elias, twin brothers who live with their mother. After coming home from a face-changing surgery, leaving her with bandages covering her face, the brothers start questionning whether it is really their mother who came home.

The first aspect I need to address is the cinematography. It is simply majestic. The movie is filled with beautiful shots which you can’t help but be amazed by. It is a brilliant exemple of cinematography helping tell a story and enhance an atmosphere. The pace is quite slow and yet the movie is never boring. It is immersive and it keeps you intrigued from beginning to end as you wonder what is going to happen next or what is really going on in this secluded house.

The two young actors portraying the main characters are really twin brothers so their relationship and brotherly behaviour is of course very believable, which is really helping the story. Their performances were very good and never over-the-top, like it is often the case with young unexperienced actors.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Goodnight Mommy is : it is unsettling. It is suspensul and filled with a quiet tension. Some viewers have complained about some violent scenes but being used to horror movies, I found the film to have just the right amount of blood and violence. It is far from being a torture porn as some viewers have claimed online and I felt it was necessary to the story, to gradually lead the viewer to the heavy climax.

Lastly, the ending is quite haunting. Frankly, I did not anticipate the outcome so it was, in my opinion, very efficient. It is definitely the kind of movie which deserves a second viewing to relive this tale from a different angle.

I highly recommend Goodnight Mommy. It is an elegant, brutal and atmospheric thriller which explores the consequences of the lack of communication inside a family unit. It is the kind of movie you need to talk about as soon as the credits start rolling.

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