It’s such a refreshing change of pace to see a film strive to set itself apart from the pack. It may not be particularly frightening, but its pace moves slowly, building tension unlike anything I’ve seen in recent memory. Filmmakers Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala are no strangers to the medium though it is their first time directing a feature and I can confidently say they have nailed it. GOODNIGHT MOMMY is a powerful debut for two exciting new talents.
Twin brothers, Lukas and Elias (Lukas and Elias Schwarz) are taken aback when their mother
(Susanne Wuest) returns home after having undergone cosmetic surgery. Her face is covered in bandages and her behavior isn’t what they’re used to from her. They watch her closely until the feeling becomes far too overwhelming and they decide: she isn’t their mother. It’s going to be a tricky situation, it could be their mother after all, but they will have to employ all of their tricks if they’re to learn the truth of who or what she may be.
One thing I found striking about the picture was the beauty of the cinematography. Upon closer inspection, I also learned it was shot on 35mm film. That’s right, I said FILM!! It’s a rarity these days but seeing it employed here was quite exciting. The pacing of the picture may turn some folks off (it’s a tad slow) but for me, it was the pacing that drew me in. The mystery builds slowly, piece by piece, and so does the tension. It thickens with evey frame, haunting you with a disturbing fever. As we watch the bandaged mother creep around the house, it leaves you with goosebumps. Part of the film’s success lies in just how much you know about it, the less you know the better in this case. The twins, Lukas and Elias, give very strong performances, very memorable and could actually be a large factor in driving GOODNIGHT MOMMY into cult status. While the majority of the film is a slow burn (Yep, I said it, bitches!), the final act doesn’t shy away from the gruesome, there’s several cringe-worthy moments to make you jump out of your seet in disgust (And I mean that in the best possible way). The confidence of Franz and Fiala is scary in itself. I can’t even imagine where or what they will dream up next but I can tell you the anticipation is going to be a nightmare. GOODNIGHT MOMMY is fresh and frightening, you couldn’t ask for anything more.