Goodnight Mommy peaked my interest when its trailer was rated the scariest horror trailer of all time. To me the trailer was far from terrifying but it set up a certain unnerving mood and creepiness. I love horror films, all types, I jump very easily and I find that gore is fascinating in the most morbid manner. In the news it stated that people had to walk out of this film in screenings as it was too gory, stomachs were churned and it was too much. When I hear that a film does this to filmgoers I set my sights on it immediately making it top priority viewing. I have seen Goodnight Mommy now and here are my thoughts.
This is a creepy, well-crafted little flick that gets by on the performances of its stars and the lack of answers and exposition, you are left in the cold to guess whats actually going on and that is where the horror part comes from. Susanne Wuest is terrific as the title Mommy, her ability to seamlessly balance a side of evil and a side of innocence and fear is tremendous, she kept me guessing is she just a parent healing from her wounds or is something in control of her? Twin actors Elias and Lukas Schwarz are two very talented young performers, when the tables turn in the film they can also, like Wuest, balance their sinister and sweet sides. A trio of superb performances solidifies the story, if I were to watch this film again I'd be in it mostly for that aspect.
This is a beautifully shot movie, there isn't a lot of camera movement, there tends to be mostly static shots but the framing contains fascinating placement of actors and set, creepy photo frames loom over the kids. Folding blinds shut and block out last casting sinister shadows, tight hallways and doorways amplify a claustrophobic feeling, closing in on the characters making them seem vulnerable. Not a single shot goes by in this film without something interesting to look at. I don't think there is any soundtrack in Goodnight Mommy which is nice, making for a very natural, grounded and quiet experience.
Compared to other horrors this year and last, Goodnight Mommy isn't about jumps and gallons of gore spewing up into the air, it focuses on stirring mystery and controlling the bodily mutilation. Cockroaches are eaten and some crawl out of stomachs, disgusting creatures as they are they are even more disturbing when inside a human body. A few well staged and timed jump scares aside, this film never gets terrifying enough to be particularly memorable nor does it gets to the levels of gore that made people apparently leave the cinema. The climax is a little underwhelming, I felt a more clear answer would've been nicer as to previous events that occur earlier on in the film. I won't give spoilers away as this one is worth checking out as it breaks the mould of horror in many ways, just don't let the high praise from critics cause your expectations to be very high.