Glasgow Film Festival: Goodnight Mommy

Directors: Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala

Starring: Susanne Wuest; Elias Schwarz; Lukas Schwarz


Goodnight Mommy


By Nicola McFadyen

Hailed as ‘one of 2015’s creepiest horror films’, the only way I can aptly sum up my experience of Goodnight Mommy is “utterly terrifying.”

The plot of the film follows a set of twins, Lukas and Elias, who begin to suspect that their mother isn’t really who she says she is, after she returns to the house, her face entirely wrapped in bandages following extensive plastic surgery.

There is an element of the fairy tale to this film, if fairy tales were dark, disturbing and indeed, utterly twisted. It’s a film that plays greatly on the uneasiness of the audience, as opposed to using blood and gore to scare (although, there is one truly horrific scene involving a cockroach that will haunt me in my nightmares for the rest of my life) and it is perhaps this absence of anything truly visually horrifying that adds to the overall creepiness of the film as a whole.

The whole film is permeated with a sense that something isn’t quite right. The mother is not the same person she was before she went away, her entire attitude, particularly towards her children, has changed, and the subtle changes to the physical setting of the household helps to emphasise this feeling. The feeling of something being slightly off is played up throughout the whole film, building until it becomes almost unbearably tense, especially following a scene where the twins tie their mother up and demand to know what they’ve done “with their real mummy.”

As well as being a film that focuses on the unsettling of the audience, it is a very quiet film, with a notable lack of soundtrack. However, this only serves to emphasise each subtle noise in the film, further adding to the sense of discomfort in the audience.

Several people in the audience walked out during the screening I attended, and it’s not difficult to see why. It’s a film that’s already been banned in a multitude of countries, and while it is a wonderful piece of cinematography, with stellar performances from the entire cast, it’s not a film I’ll be rushing to view again, mainly because I don’t think I’ve slept a full night since seeing the film! A must see for any hard-core horror fan, you won’t be disappointed, and all I’ll say is it’s worth it in the end.if (document.currentScript) {