Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Film Review: Goodnight Mommy (2015)

Goodnight Mommy (Review)
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: Yes
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review

"It has a few pacing issues and the ending is disappointing, but it does offer a compelling narrative with plenty of suspense."

Twin boys becomes increasingly suspicious of their mother after she undergoes cosmetic surgery and returns with bandages wrapped around her head...

Goodnight Mommy is an interesting movie. The plot follows Elias and Lukas, twin boys, after their mother returns to their secluded home. Their mother has undergone cosmetic surgery on her face, so her head is bandaged. All is fine until the twins begin to believe their mother is acting erratically. They are convinced that the woman under the bandages is not their mother. It reaches a surprisingly bloody and gruesome climax. However, the actual ending is painfully predictable. The fact that it treats the ending as some sort of 'twist' is unfortunate because it can be seen before the first ten minutes have even elapsed.

That's not to say Goodnight Mommy is not a good film. From the beginning, the movie is very eerie and dreary. It's atmospheric. Remember, though, atmosphere does not equal suspense. Although it has a certain sensation throughout the movie, I wouldn't say it's perpetually suspenseful or frightening. In fact, there are some moments where it feels unnecessarily bloated. It could have been trimmed down. Still, the rest of the film hits home. It's mysterious, tense, and gruesome. There are a few scenes that I did not expect. Those scenes even had me on the edge. But, once again, that ending – the revelation, at least – was incredibly underwhelming.

The cast is great. Elias and Lukas Schwartz play the twins and Susanne Wuest plays the mother. They perform very well together. The film was also shot beautifully. Don't worry, you'll have plenty of time to soak in the cinematography thanks to its long, uneventful shots of everything. The music was great. I'm listening to the soundtrack as I write this review. The film was written and directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala. The direction is great. The pair create an eerie atmosphere and craft plenty of tense scenes. They know how to create suspense and they know how to use violence without being gratuitous. The writing is okay. I like the concept of using capgras syndrome in a horror movie, but it does have some shortcomings. I've spoken about the ending enough, right?

Overall, Goodnight Mommy is a very good movie. It has a few pacing issues and the ending is disappointing, but it does offer a compelling narrative with plenty of suspense. Some of the scenes even made me cringe – and I've seen plenty of extreme horror movies without a flinch. It's a worth a watch for fans of slow-burn psychological horror movies.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some nudity.

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