Movie: **** out of 5
Video: **** 1/2
Audio: **** 1/2
Article first published as Blu-ray Review: ‘Goodnight Mommy’ Lives Up To the Hype As One of the Year’s Creepiest Films on Blogcritics.
Creepy twins are nothing new to the horror genre. The Shining, Dead Ringers, Sisters, Basket Case. If you want an easy way to keep audiences on their toes, twins are always a winner. And the German horror Goodnight Mommy
certainly delivers on its premise — even if you can see the big twist
coming in the first five minutes. Don’t let that get in the way as
writing/directing team Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz manage to pull
out the stops in what will go down as the year’s creepiest film. Armed
with a more than game cast in Susanne Wuest and twin boys Lukas and
Elias Schwarz, they set out to make you squirm more and more as the film
makes its way to its final reveal.
film is quite simple really: Lukas and Elias’s Mother (Wuest) has just
returned from having cosmetic surgery. Wrapped in bandages, the boys
don’t question the identity of the woman beneath the gauze, until some
increasingly warped happenings shed light that she may not be who they
think she is. A quick Internet search only heightens their suspicion
when they find pictures of their mother with someone they don’t know,
who happens to look an awful lot like Mother. A disappearing birthmark,
pet cockroaches, missing family photos, and a dead cat all make an
appearance as the boys embark on a mission to find out whether their
Mother is an imposter as a fight to the finish erupts in the ultimate
case of identity.
Anchor Bay Entertainment sets Goodnight Mommy loose on a 25GB
disc, framed in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio with pretty fantastic results.
While there may not be any crush — aside from intentional — or aliasing —
a small miracle considering the home is filled with blinds — the finale
is riddled with excessive banding. Thankfully, detail is razor sharp,
aside from a few inherited soft shots. Colors are muted for the most
part, something that certainly helps when blood is finally spilt. The
German 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track also makes the most of a full
surround environment —most particularly when a storm blows through with
plenty of wind, rain, and deep rumbling thunder. Music is sparse — I
honestly can’t remember a single instance of it — so you never have to
worry about missing dialogue. It’s not a problem anyway with the
included English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired.
how simplistic the film is, it’s no surprise that there’s only one
special feature: “A Conversation with Filmmakers Veronika Franz &
Severin Fiala.” Here, they discuss multiple aspects of the production,
indicating the plot is based on their own real fears from childhood, and
Fiala’s struggles with identity having a twin of his own. They also
mention how they like the idea of how horror movies are essentially
nightmares compressed into a controlled two-hour environment and how
exciting they find it to wake up from a nightmare knowing that it was
all just a dream. The film itself at times has a dreamlike quality,
always keeping the audience on its toes.
Wuest and the Schwarz boys do a magnificent job keeping the audience
enthralled in the deviousness no matter how extreme they start to get
before the credits roll. My only complaint, surprisingly, is that the
film feels like it could use another twist. Maybe it’s just the fact
that I called it five minutes in, but at least they stick to the twist
and never cheat. Goodnight Mommy is so highly-acclaimed right now
that a Hollywood remake is inevitable, but I would say, aside from the
ending, the film is damn near flawless. Filled with enough creepy
visuals to haunt you long after it’s over, Goodnight Mommy lives
up to the hype and is worth a look for anyone in need of fulfilling
their annual horror quota in a year that’s been sorely lacking from
anything this great.