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FILM: Goodnight Mommy (2014)

Goodnight Mommy (Ich Seh Ich Seh) is an Austrian-German film by first time directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala. The film adds to the recent horror-cycle of child-based films such as Belgium’s Cub (2014) and Australian-Canadian The Babadook (2014).

The film centers on the twins Elias and Lukas (played by real life twins Ellias and Lukas Schwarz) who come to believe that their mother, whose face is bandaged after cosmetic surgery, is not actually their mother.

While any in-depth discussion about the plot of the film would spoil elements that are better discovered on their own, it is worth noting that the story is much more complicated than it seems at first. Twists and turns along the way leave the film open to interpretation and give the audience a different experience with additional viewings.

What can be said, and should be praised, focuses on the presentation and craftsmanship that went into the film. Sound and lighting plays an important role in the setting an atmosphere of pure dread that pervades every shot of the film; never before have venetian blinds been used with such meticulous – and foreboding! – care.

Cinematographer Martin Gschlacht has mastered his craft, with every shot capable of being cut from the film to create a beautiful work of art on it’s own. Slow pans, reflective surfaces, and lingering shots all work together to build a film that stands apart from the rest of the current horror-cycle.

Goodnight Mommy transcends the genre it was crafted within; simply labeling it as a horror film does a disservice, it’s more than its label. It’s a piece of art that reveals the heights of filmmaking as a craft, although it is not a film for the faint of heart.

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