Director Nicolas Pesce impressed audiences at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival with The Eyes Of My Mother, his feature debut that mixes a brutal horror narrative with black-and-white arthouse cinema style for a tale filled with trauma and torture. If that sounds appealing — and really, why wouldn't it? — then you're in luck, because the movie's set for release this December. Magnet Pictures released a new trailer for the thriller earlier today, showcasing its striking visuals while teasing a pulse-pounding plot.
The film stars actress Kika Magalhaes as Francisca, a Portuguese-American woman still dealing with the traumatic murder of her mother 10 years ago. As time's gone on, she's found some dark, twisted ways of dealing with her grief, and it looks like she has all the makings of a true horror monster. We don't want to give too much away, but you can check out the film's official synopsis below:
In their secluded farmhouse, a mother, formerly a surgeon in Portugal, teaches her daughter, Francisca, to understand anatomy and be unfazed by death. One afternoon, a mysterious visitor horrifyingly shatters the idyll of Francisca’s family life, deeply traumatizing the young girl, but also awakening some unique curiosities. Though she clings to her increasingly reticent father, Francisca’s loneliness and scarred nature converge years later when her longing to connect with the world around her takes on a distinctly dark form.
With a wide release on the way, The Eyes Of My Mother might just become the hottest horror movie of 2016, a year already filled with horror hits. To get ready for the film's release, we've diving into the trailer for a closer look at its story.
"I Don't Do This Very Often"
Like all good horror trailers, this one doesn't unleash the terror straight off the bat. Instead, we see Francisca's encounter with Kimiko (Clara Wong). We can tell they've just met, as Kimiko notes that she doesn't "go home with people" very often. But as the visitor asks Francisca about her mother we get a taste of the trauma that haunts her past.
Get Ready For Some Surgery
Francisca's mother was a surgeon in Portugal, and given the title of the movie it should come as no surprise that she specialized in eye surgery. It's obvious Francisca was close to her mother, who always expected her daughter would follow in her footsteps. The girl's past fascination with surgery and anatomy will no doubt inform her dark fantasies in the present.
What Happened To Francisca's Mother?
It's not entirely clear in the trailer, though we know that Francisca's mother was murdered in the past by a stranger the daughter invited into their home. It looks like her father took the predator down and locked him away in their barn, opting to take matters into his own hands instead of go to the authorities. Oh, and he did it all while a young Francisca watched, which definitely won't screw the kid up in the future!
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There's A Prisoner In The Barn
Looks like Francisca's father didn't quite finish the job, because 10 years later their prisoner is still in the barn. We know her father is still around, but odds are Francisca's now takes the lead when it comes to caring for and torturing the murderer.
Francisca Operates With Surgical Precision
As the trailer continues, we get more glimpses at Francisca's daily life. At first, things seems pretty normal; she washes dishes, feeds the cows on her farm and eats her meals. But you quickly notice she's doing it all alone, showing how disconnected from society she's become.
Unsurprisingly, it seems like that facade of normalcy is hiding something more sinister. Why is she digging a hole in the forest? What exactly is she cutting with a saw? And why do we get the feeling that the meat she's packing up isn't ground beef? The only thing that's certain is that Francisca operates with surgical precision.
A Relationship Between Captor And Prisoner?
The most interesting aspect of the movie is hinted at in the very end of the trailer, with a quick shot of Francisca caring for her prisoner. It appears that over the course of 10 years, the two have become pretty close — even if she's tortured him to the brink of death. Their relationship presents a unique take on Stockholm Syndrome that drives much of the film, but you'll have to actually watch the movie to see how it plays out.
Get an inside look at the movie in this interview with director and star:
The Eyes Of My Mother got a lot of buzz at Sundance, not only because it was an impressive debut for Pesce but because its content proved pretty divisive for audiences. While many appreciated the stark black-and-white visuals and gothic tone, the film's brutal subject matter wasn't to everyones tastes. This one will no doubt deal with the nitty gritty when it comes to Francisca's dark impulses, but if you can sit through some stomach-churning scenes you'll likely walk away both mesmerized and haunted by the story.
The Eyes Of My Mother hits theaters, On Demand, Amazon Video and iTunes on December 2. What do you think will happen in this thriller? Let us know in the comments below.