*****Contains no spoilers*****
Are you my mother?
Besides it being the title of a famous Dr. Seuss book, it's the question that was floating around SouthSide's head when viewing this creepy, psychological haunt of a ghost story titled Ich Seh Ich Seh aka Goodnight Mommy. This Austrian film, with English subtitles, offers the cinema enthusiast over 90 minutes of intriguing, intense, nail-biting moments amidst a heavy cloud of mystery surrounding two twin boys (Lukas and Elias Schwarz) and their mother (Susanne Wuest), who spends majority of the film shrouded behind a face mask due to recent surgery.
Yet the question remains when the boys notice huge difference about their "mother" - is she really their mother?
Goodnight Mommy opens with scenes of Lukas and Elias romping through the corn field and forest, swimming in the lake and exploring a dark tunnel (a very suspenseful scene as you're gradually led inside without ever knowing why or what's awaiting for you) until the next scenes finds them back home where their mother has returned from surgery. Isolated in the middle nowhere in Austria (miles and miles away from Vienna, SouthSide suppose), they're given a cold, unloving welcome from her who immediately complains about their dirty clothes.
It was strange to watch a woman shower love and attention on Elias rather than equally with both boys to have this reviewer scratching her head ...wondering why a mother has so much animosity towards Lukas. She's definitely won the "Joan 'Mommy Dearest' Crawford" award, blogspot readers. Her changed personality sparks intrigue and their quest to determine if she's really their mother. And do they ever go through lengths torturing this woman who's recovering from facial reconstructive surgery in their efforts to find out who (or what) she is. From monstrous-sized beetles to super gluing her lips shut, the boys inflict sadistic methods and acts of torture which had SouthSide's skin crawling during certain moments until the bitter yet shocking, fiery end.
So was she their mother? What really happened to her which she needed facial surgery? What did Elias do to cause the "accident"? And why are the Austrian Red Cross volunteers (collecting donations) so nosey
Those questions and many more that will never be answered, blogspot readers.
SouthSide loves movies like Goodnight Mommy that have her scratching her head and analyzing the plot as well as conclusion. Yep, this psycho-horror movie will force you to think, analyze, discuss while deeply submerged amidst the mysterious plot-line from beginning to end.
Writers/directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz gives you all the clues needed throughout the movie to support the arguments for and against ...leaving your mind twisted to either convince you that she IS or NOT their mother, blogspot readers. And believe SouthSide, she was siding with Lukas and Elias. That's the beauty about this movie. The subtle plot twists and fiery surprise at the end (which will have you discussing with other movie patrons) are just some of the things this movie that kept this reviewer (as well as her daughter) glued to her seat ...or sometimes gripping it. However, that same question was also the distraction to real plot of the movie which revolves around the boys, Lukas and Elias, besides their mother. One of them is not what he appears to be.
Sorry, blogspot readers, SouthSide will not reveal which twin it pertains to or the many hints dropped throughout the movie.
It was shot beautifully. She loved how they lived in this modern (mostly glass) house in the middle of nowhere that's surrounded by a corn field and forest. What a strange place and way to live where your nearest neighbor could be thity or more away for help. Though it's never explained why a mother would choose such a place to raise her sons, it's the crucial crux of the Ich Seh Ich Seh's story to which easily immerses you into the daily activities of Elias' and Lukas' isolated life while their mother also stays isolated in her room recovering from surgery. Isolation can be so creepy and very unnerving, blogspot readers. It can slowly turn child's thoughts towards a path of becoming twisted and crazy. And that happens so quickly during the scene where they're playing "Who Am I?" with their mother and she doesn't get the hint the person she guessing is herself.
SouthSide's teen daughter only had this to say "...what a messed up, creepy movie..."
Absolutely a "must see" type of movie if you want to know the haunting plot twist and abruptly strange conclusion that will leave you dazed and confused for hours ...discussing it with others.
Until next time, support your local scene,