Horror cinephiles would be deeply aware of the Austrian psychological trauma film released back in 2014 that made a significant impact on the genre. For those not in the know on why such a ripple was made, it’s hard to discuss without talking about the specific shift in narrative, that puts a completely different spin on our initial perception. It is this combined with the unsettling tension imbued throughout that resonates after viewing and lifts it out of the quagmire of predictability.
So in the throes of continuing remakes of European films that have struck a chord in the outer ridges of the popular mainstream, Goodnight Mommy gets its own turn in the limelight.
Charged with carrying out this vision is Director Matt Sobel who also has the luxury of Naomi Watts as his lead. Apparently this is her 9th film which is a remake. I’ll have to cross check that one though as I can only think of The Ring off the tip of my head.
What I can say about Goodnight Mommy though is that the film centres on two twins, Elias and Lucas (Cameron and Nicholas Crovettii) who return back to their mothers care. At this stage it is not known why they have been absent but there’s enough uncertainty there to instil a sense of doubt about their mother and one the audience harbours along with them. It doesn’t help that their mother is predominantly masked due to recovering from surgery. A haunting image that evokes fear, tantalising playing with our emotional responses to the situation as it unfolds. The mystery and mounting tension escalates to the point of desperation to seek the truth about what happened but Elias and Lucas’ pursuit will come at a price.
It treads a similar line to the original but utilises all of its strengths to provide a decent psychological flick. Naomi Watts is particularly solid, playing a convoluted mother with juxtaposing positions, swinging between neglectful and cold, with loving and protective.
The dalliance of drifting towards the unknown and being fearful of the truth is pitched well from beginning to end, delivering a well paced story, playing with perspectives from all sides.
- Saul Muerte
Goodnight Mommy is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.