GOODNIGHT MOMMY

★★★★

Dir: Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala(2015)

This cold, calculated and rather nasty but incredibly effective Austrian horror film focuses on the paranoia of twins Elias and Lukas when their mother arrives home, completely bandaged, neck-up, from facial reconstructive surgery. Susanne Wuest, the fine actress behind the swarths of cloth is subjected to many games by the somewhat neglected pair (played excellently by real-life sibs Elias and Lukas Schwarz) when she refuses to acknowledge the weaker of the two.

Co-directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala command their picture with a vacuum of dread and rather fascinating sense that children never really know who their own parents were before their own creation. Is the photo of their mother with a woman wearing identical clothes to this home-ridden imposter a clue? In a game of celebrity heads their mother fails her turn even though she has “Mama” written on the piece of paper stuck to her forehead. But, seriously, this is not a comedy.

Goodnight Mommy is not for the yellow-bellied, the weak of heart or soft of stomach. My own girlfriend, a somewhat seasoned horror veteran by proxy, walked out (and refused to come back) before a rather nasty scene involving the now captive mother, superglue and a pair of scissors which had me wincing for weeks. Perhaps rightly so. This is a film which begs of you to delve into a very murky pool and stick with it. If you can bear the tone and get over a twist which is, quite frankly, as plain as the nose on your face this dark picture might have the effect it so loudly asks for.

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