Twin brothers Elias and Lukas (Elias and Lukas Schwarz) live in an isolated house in Austria. When their mother (Susanne Wuest) comes home from having facial surgery, the twins think that their mother isn’t who she really is.
Driector: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala
Cast: Susanne Wuest, Elias and Lukas Schwarz
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violent content and some nudity
Fun Fact: The actors were not given a script and the film was shot in chronological order.
I had heard of this film and was dying to see it. I always like to watch a foreign film once and awhile because I have an appreciation for world cinema. Sometimes I get tired of Hollywood blockbusters and want to see what the rest of the world has to offer when it comes to film. I had seen the trailer where many people had said its one of the scariest trailers of all time. I would have to say that’s a big fat lie and I suggest that you don’t watch the trailer. If you read my reviews, you will notice I include the trailer after each review. Part of me doesn’t want to because the trailer is misleading, but as for my self protocol I will include the trailer so you can see.
The trailer markets this film as a straight up horror film, while it has its horror elements, it’s not the focus. What we have here is a nicely paced suspense thriller. While watching this I felt like this was an imported Hitchcock film. It’s a film filled with suspense and has clues that also makes it a mystery. It has a twist that I will obviously not spoil, but there are clues to this twist that you will either get it quickly or it might take you awhile. Usually it takes me awhile to figure out twists because I focus on other aspects, but this time I got it quickly. I had fun looking for the clues. The first hour is so well written that I was getting into it, then the last thirty minutes do a total one-eighty. The last thirty minutes it becomes a Saw-like horror film. To me that came out of left field as I was getting into the suspense and mystery aspects of the film. While the last thirty minutes are not horrible, it felt like it came out of nowhere. It does have some chilling imagery though that brings that part of the movie up to the quality of the first half. The last shot is something I will never forget as it chilled me to the bone.
One thing I loved about this film is the quality of it. The cinematography is fantastic with all the different shots. It’s always interesting to see a different country’s filming techniques as it varies from the Hollywood way. I loved the decision for the scenes of the house to be filmed darker and with natural light. It gives the film a more suspenseful and creepier look to it. The house that it’s filmed at is also nice to look at. It’s modernized and isolated to give the setting an updated and lonely feel to it.
The acting of the cast is well done as well. It’s interesting that the actors didn’t have a script to work with. A lot of the film is relied on improve and I think it makes the film different and eliminates any forced dialogue. Susanne Wuest is fantastic as the mother and I want to see more films with her in because she’s talented. Her character has a lot going on with her and she plays someone that is trying to take on too much to perfection. We get the slow build from beginning to end that is well acted and written. Twins Elias and Lukas Schwarz are just as great. Sometimes child performances can be a bit much, but these performances had me hooked. They come off as creepy and once again their characterizations are well written. They have a big part in this film and with solid directing all the actors pull off well done performances.
Overall, Goodnight Mommy was worth the wait as I have been wanting to see this film for quite some time. It’s a well written and directed film that starts off as a great suspense thriller that reminded me of a Hitchcock film. The only problem that I really had with it is that the last thirty minutes of the film turn into something completely different. While those scenes are essential to the film, it just felt like it came out of left field. It helps with all the unsettling and creepy imagery that bring it up a notch. So, in a way it helps elevate the film from a solid first hour that I didn’t really expect. I always like a film that leaves me surprised and this is one of them. Again, I would advise to avoid the trailer because it’s false advertising in a way. It tries to sell the film as something that it really isn’t, and that’s a straight up horror film.