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Goodnight Mommy

Austria's official entry for Best Foreign Film Oscar. "A masterful example of genre filmmaking's ability to transcend its limitations, leaving a viewer not just frightened, but also changed." - Washington Post

“A wicked little chiller full of foreboding and malevolent twists, Goodnight Mommy is the first narrative feature from writer-directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala. This insidious tale of a mother-son bond gone haywire is squirm-inducing stuff.

“There's a rich history of horror exploiting the potential for intuitive communication, conspiracy, loyalty, betrayal and creepiness in twins. The 10-year-old identical brothers at the center of Goodnight Mommy are a fine addition to that canon, even if the initial threat of evil has its source elsewhere.

“When the boys' mother (Susanne Wuest) returns from extensive facial surgery, she seems a stranger to them. Where once she was affectionate, now she's chilly and severe. Brooding shots of her watching them from behind windows or doors, fractured glimpses of her reconstructed face, or simply a bloodshot eye in the mirror as she changes bandages all feed the audience's suspicions as well as those of the boys.

“Loss of carefree innocence is the key theme. For the most part, the reactions of Lukas and Elias are not those of frightened kids but of cornered prey relying on animal cunning, and where necessary, savagery.  There are plenty of variations on familiar horror tropes here, ihowever, there's also subtlety and sophistication in the way that Franz and Fiala toy with audience expectations.

“The story's acceleration from anxiety to panic to hellish chaos is expertly managed, but more impressively, so is the control of internal narrative logic. As each piece of the puzzle gradually comes together, starting well into the film with the reason for the mother's surgery, a mental replay of everything that's happened up to that point makes consistent sense.

“The three terrific central performances that are crucial to Goodnight Mommy's effectiveness. The intense concentration on primordial mother-child ties, their steady perversion and the psychological damage of withheld love makes this film riveting and visceral.” - Hollywood Reporter

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