Goodnight Mommy is definitely, without one doubt, my FAVORITE horror movie of the year. It’s not unlike the first hill of a roller coaster—oh, how the tension builds as you climb and climb, higher and higher, knowing you’re about to face something terrifying when you finally get to the top. You wiggle in your seat, and the loss of control in what’s happening to you creates an almost unbearable sense of dread that makes your skin prickle, your stomach fill with butterflies, and your heart—the only muscle that’s REALLY keeping your fragile body alive—speeds up and starts thumping too hard inside of your chest.
After the roller coaster crests—you just fall. Some people scream. Some people (this would be me) let their mouth hang wide open in pure disbelief. Some want to get off that terrible fucking ride—they just want it all to end. In the case of Goodnight Mommy, at moment the slow-creeping plot reaches its peak, several people jumped up from their seats and exited the theater. They couldn’t scream or endure ANY longer the ride that Austrian writer-director team Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala had put them on. Though there isn’t a gratuitous amount of blood or violence in this film (it leans more toward the “thriller” genre versus “horror”), the physical brutality that is presented on-screen is extreme and personal—somehow giving it a sharpness that cuts too deep for some viewers.
There are also excellent twists, so I don’t want to tell you any more than you can glean from watching the trailer. I’ll just say that Goodnight Mommy is a movie about a pair of twin boys and their surgically-altered mother—a movie that begins with a sugary sweet rendition of Brahms’s “Cradle Song” and ends with a tragedy that would make dusty old William Shakespeare himself roll in (or rise from) his grave. This said, it’s not a ride for the faint of heart—especially those who are parents or “mommies” themselves.