Goodnight Mommy – 4 out of 5
Children are f@#king scary. I don’t care how much you love your kids or how often you try to convince me that I made a mistake by choosing to never have those little demon-spawns but those damn things are freaking terrifying. Horror movies understand that no matter how many pics we post of our little kiddies we produce on social media we still have an underlying (and healthy) fear of them. Think of all the scary movies you’ve seen that have focused on the unsettling things kids will say or do. Tell me you don’t pee your pants a little when you hear kids slowly sing, “Lalalaaalaaaa.” Well, the Austrian film Goodnight Mommy agrees that children are bowl-voidingly terrifying and used that to its advantage.
|There is no greater evil in the world than kids...and twins are even worse.|
Lukas (Lukas Schwarz) and Elias (Elias Schwarz) begin to grow suspicious of their mother (Susanne Wuest) after she comes back from having surgery and starts acting strangely and enacting new rules in their isolated home. Soon, the twin boys start to question if the person who came back from the hospital is even their mother and it’s not long before they start demanding answers.
|Plot Twist: The Mom actually became the Invisible Woman!|
Not the Marvel one, though.
|This was the tamest pic I could find when the film goes|
Aside from doing the tried and true formula of using children to scare the bejesus out of me and remind me that I wasn’t making a choice that I might one day regret by never having the damn things, Goodnight Mommy is just an all-around fantastic horror film that left me captivated and frightened at the same time. The feature is a minimalistic movie that offers up very little music, has few characters and doesn’t realistically have that much dialogue. Additionally, the film is one of those successful slow-burn horror films that really builds up to something terrifying. What makes it so successful is that much of the film is developing (and excellently so) the paranoia in the boys until, without warning, the film goes absolutely nuts—and in an awesome (but unsettling) way.
|I'm not an advocate for child abuse but it would be hard to not rush my own child|
if I woke up to this in the house.
Goodnight Mommy ran a real risk of dragging and being boring as, for a good chunk of the film, I found myself wondering where exactly it was going to go. The story takes a lot of time showing the boys do a lot of things that feel like they are doing things of no consequence but this build and the focus on how isolated the family is in the middle of nowhere really helped bring the insanity that arrives in the final act and then it decided to turn it up to 11. I know it sounds like I’m overselling this but the very striking simplicity of everything in this film makes the horrifying moments feel magnified and really felt like a punch to the gut. Matters were only helped greatly due to some truly amazing performances from the three main players.
|Maybe the kids were right. Maybe she's no longer their mommy but now|
she's their mummy!
I'll punch myself in the face for that one. Don't worry, dear reader.
The only downside I had for the film was the fact the film does have a twist to it and, sadly, the twist is very, VERY obvious. How obvious? I called it the moment the boys were greeted by their returning mother. Did this twist hurt my entertainment of Goodnight Mommy? Hell no!
|Gawd dammit! Seriously, children are horrifying!|
Goodnight Mommy is an excellently crafted film that fantastically uses its visuals and stunning simplicity to craft a very terrifying film. It might suffer from one major problem by containing a twist that was far too easy to see coming and it did leave me with a lot of questions I really wanted answered (but was still okay with them not being answered); however, the entire film still creeped me the f#@k out and that’s something very few horror films can accomplish (my horror gland burned out years ago—it’s a real organ, look it up).