Goodnight Mommy (2015)

Goodnight Mommy.jpgGoodnight Audience

Directors: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Starring: Lukas Schwartz, Elias Schwartz, Susanne Wuest

One of the greatest tragedies of cinema can be missed potential. Great ideas and interesting concepts can be crafted, only to be poorly handled in their transition to the big screen. Fantastic Four and Pixels are big-budget recent examples of items which could've been utilized in more intriguing ways. Despite a plot line that's effective set up, Goodnight Mommy falls into this category.

After undergoing cosmetic surgery, a mother (Susanne Wuest) comes back home to her twin sons, Lukas and Elias (Lukas & Elias Schwartz). The twins are unnerved by her behaviour and her appearance, with bandages covering all of her face, barring her eyes and mouth. As nothing resembles what life once was for the boys, a thought recurs in their heads: what if this woman is not their mother?

From early on, it's clear what directing duo Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz were attempting to accomplish. A slow-burner, casting a gaze on these individuals who are dealing with trauma and loss in their own ways. This unfortunately falls through, as we bear witness to long stretches, bringing forth dull moments which test your patience.

"Trick or Treat"

Fiala & Franz seem content with telling the audience how things have changed, expecting us to accept this change in the mothers relationship with her boys, because they told us as much. As such, the audience isn't given a good feel for the mothers relationship with her sons beforehand. We're left unable to feel that things truly have changed since the operation, and this is where one or two flashbacks would have been effective.

There are some parts worth praising though. Elias and Lukas Schwartz pull off what's necessary, showcasing the innocence of children their age, while harbouring a dark side. Susanne Wuest does a good job also, while great cinematography on display.

The third act brings a major twist into play, intended to shock the viewers into re-evaluating what they've been watching. But for viewers who've been paying attention, the twist will be apparent from early on, and feel dragged out until it's finally revealed. Then the film descends into, for lack of a better phrase, torture porn.

Goodnight Mommy portrays an interesting tale sluggishly, making a torturous experience to view before becoming another round of torture porn. Sadly, it's just another film to add to the column of "films with missed potential".