directors Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala
Science tells us that in each pair of twins, one is definitely evil. Except perhaps in Goodnight Mommy where by some weird act of random genetic terror, they are both evil.
Okay, I’m kidding of course. And more than that, it’s not an entirely accurate portrayal of this Austrian horror/thriller. The film begins with two young boys whose mother has returned from the hospital, her head wrapped in bandages, obscuring her face. They are dubious that this woman is their “real” mother and do creepy things to sabotage her. She doesn’t make nice, treating one boy coldly while the other one even more cold. Is she the problem?
Well, another bit of advice: never trust anyone who keeps hissing cockroaches as adored pets.
One thing sort of to the film’s favor and perhaps as well to its fault is the lack of information that the audience is given. Why is the mother’s face in bandages? What is going on? This omission of information sorts to a degree in leaving questions as the story unfolds. But as the film turns its final trump card twist on you, suddenly the fact that the one brother is already dead(!), you wind up kind of frustrated that THIS WAS THE TWIST?? It winds up being sort of a poor version of Thomas Tyron’s The Other (1972).
Really, the boys torturing the mother. Parts of this film in different hands might have really squeezed out some truly transgressive stuff. It wouldn’t have taken a lot to make this one full-on bananas. But in the end it’s a mixed bag, as are my feelings for it.