The Austrian thriller “Goodnight Mommy,” arriving on home video December 1, is a remarkably effective slice of horror. The film features moments of brutal psychological and physical violence which will likely turn off some viewers. However, those with the stomach for it will be treated to one of the best horror films of the year.
“Goodnight Mommy” begins with the arrival of the mother (Susanne Wuest), who comes home after being in the hospital for cosmetic facial surgery. Her twin sons Elias and Lukas (played by Elias and Lukas Schwarz) are convinced that the woman who came home is not their mother. When they’re not playing with their hissing cockroaches, the boys’ investigation leads to violence as the boys find out just what is going on.
The third act of “Goodnight Mommy” features some fairly savage violence, which might be a deal-breaker for the faint of heart. (I’m almost certain the cockroaches are there solely to gross the audience out.) The extremity of the violence may put the film in the “torture porn” category for some, but if anything that intensity makes the end result even more powerful. “Goodnight Mommy” is much closer to an extremely violent tragedy than the usual Hostels and Saws of the horror world, and the end result is incredibly powerful.
“Goodnight Mommy” is terrifically made, and the Blu-Ray showcases the film’s expert sound and visuals. Perfectly paced and haunting to the last frame, “Goodnight Mommy” captures a mood of dread few films this year can match. This Austrian film is well worth checking out in advance of its inevitable U.S. remake.