A pair of brothers rejoice as their mother returns home from being hospitalized after her plastic surgery on her face – only something seems a little off about her. She doesn’t do all the things she used to. No more bedtime stories. No more playing with her sons. No more making noise while she sleeps – which is all the time. Her behavior sparks doubt in the boys of whether or not she is even their mother at all. What follows is a roller coaster, more like a moving sidewalk, of weirdness, so strap in.
You should know going in that the language of the movie is German so there are subtitles, which doesn’t really bother me. I don’t mind reading subtitles as long as the story keeps me interested. High Tension is a great example of a horror movie that makes you forget you’re even reading subtitles because the movie is so good. Anyway, Goodnight Mommy is not an example of one of those movies. The only interesting part of the movie is the initial intrigue of whether or not that is actually their mother – intrigue that quickly vanishes into a cloud of silence and suspense, leaving you begging for ANYTHING to happen to progress the story.
Can a movie have too much suspense? Is it possible to have too much tension and too little information in a movie you knew would be a thriller? Some might say no – one should come to expect relentless suspense to let your imagination run wild with possibilities of what is to come. However, I will have to disagree. Flooding a movie with tense scenes of what might happen next runs the risk of making the movie boring – and that’s exactly what happened here. Scene after scene, we’re just watching the brothers quietly play and try and avoid their seemingly deranged mother – who herself only sleeps and sits quietly in her room for the majority of the film.
The whole movie takes place in the boys’ home, which didn’t have to be a bad thing, necessarily, but my God when you only have 3 characters and one of them stays locked in their room then you’ve left no room for a change of pace. And pacing is something this movie desperately craves to be fixed. Occasionally the mother will leave her room to yell at her children for playing too loudly and sometimes slap them, which only incites the children to act out from a newfound sense of neglect and abuse from their previously loving mother. Those scenes are tense, don’t get me wrong, but they’re few and far between. There’s no filler or side story to keep you interested – only this monotonous tedium.
The climax of the film takes place after a disturbing sequence near the end wherein the boys strap their mother (who they believe to be an imposter) to her bed and begin to torture her – like super-gluing her mouth shut and then cutting it back open. The whole scene was tortuous however I actually was pleased that something was finally happening. The film ends with the revelation that the mother received reconstructive surgery after her son burned the house down, killing his father and brother. The boy was actually hallucinating that his brother was there the whole time. Yeah, it’s one of those movies. In the end, the boy ends up burning the house down again – killing both himself and his mother.
This movie is…
The trailer had my hopes high but the film just couldn’t deliver. Don’t bother with this one.
Cheers and goodnight.