SYNOPSIS: Twin brothers arrive at their Mother’s country home to discover her face covered in bandages—the result, she explains, of recent cosmetic surgery. As her behavior grows increasingly erratic and unusual, however, a horrifying thought takes root in the boys’ minds: the sinking suspicion that the woman beneath the gauze isn’t their mother at all.
We heard that the original Austrian version from 2014 is much more ambiguous and shockingly violent compared to this remake. Although we can’t exactly tell you more since we never catch the original by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, we can only conclude the English language remake is purely a plain serviceable suspense thriller.
From The Impossible to Shut In to the recent The Desperate Hour, Australian actress Naomi Watts no stranger to playing a mother with unconditional love again plays a mother to twins Elias and Lucas (Cameron and Nicholas Crovetti). The mother who is never given a name first appears with her face in bandages, post-surgery as the twins are dropped at the mother’s farm house by their father. In the beginning, the mother attempts to win the twins over but as the days go, the twins suspect that something is off with their mother given her outbursts and sometimes bizarre behaviour and probably the person under the bandages might not be their mother after all.
Is she or isn’t she? This is the biggest mystery of Goodnight Mommy as we follow Elias and Lucas in their creepy adventure to seek the truth.
There’s genuinely little here that audiences will find thrilling or frightening despite through cinematographer Alexander Dynan’s lensing, there’s an ongoing decent amount of dread and tension. The flick is set in one singular location and for sure, it takes a far superior script and directorial skill to amp up the stake rather than throwing in two cops late into the movie without much development except asking the mother for a photo op as she is an actress of sort.
Of course, Hollywood being Hollywood tends to drop in too much clues for its own good. The biggest spoilerish thing that we can reveal is that if you watched enough American horror tropes or something along the line of M. Night Shyalaman’s greatest hit, you already figured out half the riddle or the final revelation.
To the movie’s credit, it did manage to snag Naomie Watts as the main lead and producer, always a reliable and charming performer even the script needs finetuning. Cameron and Nicholas Crovetti are fine as the twins although they need to be more creepier than mere freaked out.
Does a remake of Goodnight Mommy need to coexist alongside the original? Is it worthy to catch it on the small screen? We can only give credit to Hollywood for its uncanny ability to turn a supposedly arthouse horror piece for the masses. That’s kind of terrifying if you think about it.
Review by Linus Tee