Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Halloween Movie Review #4: "Goodnight Mommy" (2014)

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Movie"Goodnight Mommy" / "Ich Seh Ich Seh"
Director: Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz
Year: 2014
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

After their mother (Susanne Wuest) has plastic surgery, twin boys Elias and Lukas (Elias and Lukas Schwartz) start to question whether or not she is actually their mother at all.

"Ich seh Ich seh," or "Goodnight Mommy" as it's titled in English, is a truly terrifying Austrian horror film. It centers around twin boys named Elias and Lukas, played by real twin brothers Elias and Lukas Schwartz. They live on an isolated farm with their mother, played by Susanne Wuest, who has just undergone plastic surgery and starts the film with her head entirely wrapped in bandages. The twins believe their mother has been acting strangely ever since this surgery, and Lukas starts to convince Elias she may not be their mother at all, but rather an impostor that has taken her place. The boys make it their mission to determine whether or not their mom is the one under those bandages, or if something bigger and more evil is going on.

There is some real creepy imagery throughout "Goodnight Mommy," even though the film as a whole might not be for everyone. It's filled with a mix between macabre, twisted visuals, and docile, hunky dory ones. There are even a few creepy crawlers thrown in for good measure. The directors take the audience down one path at the beginning of the movie, and mid-film, make an abrupt turn and switch as to where they might be going with the plot, all of which is brilliantly executed in the blink of an eye. Even once we come to the realization of what is going on, it doesn't change the horrific nature of what is unfolding on screen. Make no mistake, "Goodnight Mommy" is disturbing to watch and has many moments that are extremely unsettling. It thrives in the shockingly terrifying. It's not the type of horror movie that you see regularly churned out of Hollywood with cheap jump scares and some silly tongue-in-cheek almost gag-like moments. It favors the instances that are truly disturbing and will make you uneasy while watching it. This entire movie may even make you a little sick to the stomach.

"Goodnight Mommy" is so successful as a horror film because it is both relatable and believable, making it that much more terrifying to watch unfold. Besides, children can be creepy all on their own, but twins? Twins even more so. Horror directors have known this for a while and often use children and twins to great effect. Another favorite plot device of horror films is the bandaged, post-surgery look, which is sure to both delight and fright those willing to watch. In the end, we don't want to give too much of this movie away because you should experience it on your own, but it all comes together very well in the end with an excellent payoff after a slow unfolding of events. We will admit, this is not the type of film that will appeal to everyone, but for true loves of every horror sub-genre, give it a go.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
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One year ago, we were being scared by: "Silent House"

Two years ago, we were being scared by: "Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers"

Three years ago, we were being scared by: "The Lair of the White Worm"

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