The mother to two nine year old twin brothers has been away getting extensive facial surgery and when she finally comes home due to the bandages her children are at first unsure of whether this is really their mother. She begins to start behaving strangely and attempting to break the two up, is this really the twins’ mother?
This is yet another recent horror film that is rebelling against the likes of The Conjuring and Insidious and their jump scare antics and very little lasting terror, replacing the aforementioned tropes with a building atmosphere of tension and menace. And for me it stands up there with the best of this new wave of indie horror like The Babadook and my favourite film from last year It Follows. The film taps into the wellspring of fear that is pedophobia (the fear of children) and more specifically the fear of psychopathic twins. And trust me, these guys are creepy as sin. It also uses body horror tropes and that really creepy kind of modern house with all of the windows like in The Gift.
The whole film is a nonstop escalation of this oppressive (in a good horror way) atmosphere of discomfort and fear that escalates in an almost unbearable final fifteen minutes. It makes bits of violence that taken out of the atmospheric context wouldn’t be shocking into something that I physically couldn’t watch. There is no bit of gore here that you haven’t seen technically worse in some kind of torture porn film but the tension that surrounds the acts of violence here make them seem much worse and more shocking than perhaps they actually are.
The performances here are spectacular. It’s hard enough to find one good child actor, let alone find two that are twins. But both Elias and Lukas Schwarz are outstanding in that for the most part they have to carry the movie with the Mother not being on screen for about half the movie although her presence is constant.
Overall Goodnight Mommy is an incredibly creepy and interesting horror movie which makes far better watching than some of the more mainstream horror offerings recently such as the later instalments in the seemingly endless Paranormal Activity franchise. I loved it.