Goodnight Mommy is about two young twin boys who live in a countryside house with their actress mom, and spend most of their waking hours playing together. Their mother has just had surgery and her face is covered in bandages, rendering her unrecognizable to the twins. They become convinced that the woman who has returned from surgery is not their real mother.
The tone, style and atmosphere of the piece blend cohesively to create feelings of unease and creepiness from the first frame to the last. Lacking any background soundtrack for most the film and any real over-the-top scares, it still has quite a few very disturbing moments especially in the last ten minutes or so.
But ‘Goodnight Mommy’ is a glaring example of a twist-gone-wrong and how it can totally ruin a movie. A huge twist is revealed extremely early in Goodnight Mommy and has the subtly of a sledgehammer. It’s too bad because something like this really ruined the ride for me since I was just waiting for the revelation. Some people might be able to look past this and continue to focus on the overall mystery of who is their mother? But for me, it was a major blow.
I’m not saying the movie was garbage, it’s not, it has quite a bit of tense/eerie moments to offer. Not to mention the overall atmosphere/tone of the movie is quite bleak. All of which pave the way for the creepy mommy mystery narrative, who is this woman and is she their mother or not? It’s such a simple yet frightening idea that it’s hard not to admire such a nerve-wrecking premise.
This storyline has far more subtly to it than the other twist I was talking about before. The moment we meet the woman you can tell something is off and may not be who she says she is. She’s harsh, scary, and cryptic, all of which helps distract from the other obvious part of the narrative. And while the final third of the movie may move into mild torture porn, it’s not all bad, especially when it is quite shocking.
In the third act it got very repetitive and seemed to drag out so the film could be at least 90 minutes long. The actions of some characters are questionable. For example, during one scene the red cross shows up at the family’s house and knock on the door, looking for donations. No one answers the door so they just walk in and look around the house to see if anyone is home. I get that this scene was supposed to build tension but it did not work for me. I personally didn’t find the movie scary, nothing like the level of terror the trailer promised, I see the movie as being more of a psychological mystery than anything else.
Goodnight Mommy gets a 7.1/10.