Not as scary as the trailer!
Goodnight Mommy (2014) is supposedly a horror film. Set in the summer holidays, twins Elias and Lukas aged eleven visit their mother in her luxurious detached house. The mother has a fully
bandaged head, justified by cosmetic surgery following a “car accident.” But she quickly becomes strange in her behaviour, distant and cold with the boys as though she is pretending to hide something. As the film progresses, the twins begin to doubt their mother’s identity.
The film is entwined with the horrifying concept that a loved one can be replaced as well as the fear of not being able to read someone’s emotions from their expression. A mother is the centre of a child’s universe, so the plot of a doppelgänger replacing the twin’s mother is an intuitive idea for horror. However, this image is shattered as soon as their mother begins to interact like a mother would with her children. You can read her emotions from her voice; a part of the film that is not hinted at in the trailer.
I clearly perceived that I was watching a film, and I did not feel drawn into the events at all. Sinking lower in my chair, I began to twiddle my thumbs, constantly checking how much time had passed. I hoped for a scene that would draw me into the film. Perhaps if I had been watching this film in a dark cinema with a big screen, the special effects and jolts would have given me a thrill. Instead, I stared uninterestedly into my TV.
However, I do think this was a good story. I found myself wishing this was a well written novel. Most film that makes it to the cinema is art, and there are parts to appreciate in the film. As events evolve into a tragic and unbearable cruelty, the final revelation throws the viewer into an abyss of perplexity. If I had not been so bored by the end of the film, I would have found this plot twist stunning.
I would advise that if you want to see this film,
do not watch the trailer. The trailer is a carefully edited piece of work that does not represent the film at all. On reflection, I probably would have enjoyed the film more if people had not hyped it to be an incredibly scary film. Instead, I would have appreciated the plot and the acting more.
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