Review: Goodnight, Mummy

Lukas and Elias Schwarz play, remarkably enough, twins named Lukas and Elias, who live in a country home with their mother (Susanne Wuest), who has been badly disfigured in a car accident some time ago. Covered in bandages, she doesn’t want any visitors nor any excess noise while she recuperates. She also seems to be acting strangely and at times rather cruelly, with the 9 year-olds eventually convinced that she’s not really their mother but an impostor. She’s certainly not very maternal, and what is up with her randomly disrobing in the woods? Or is that a dream sequence? (I’m not really asking, by the way. I do know the answer) At any rate, the boys set about finding a way to get to the bottom of things once and for all.


Getting a lot of praise in certain corners, this 2015 Austrian psychological horror flick from the co-writer/co-director team of Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz (who previously made a documentary as their debut) was a pretty big disappointment to me. Starting like an intriguing mixture of “Frailty” and “Under the Skin” it ended up losing me due to a glacier pace. It barely runs 90 minutes, but the pacing really sucks the fun out of it.


It’s interesting at times, disturbing at times, creepy at times. For a while you’re intrigued as to just where this crazy, disturbing film might be headed. The fake-out opening in particular involving a boy running in a thick cornfield gave me uneasy flashbacks to seeing “Signs” in the cinema. That wasn’t a great film, but in the moment on first viewing it was a really, really effective suspense thriller. Sadly, this isn’t even on the level of “Signs”. It has its moments of intrigue, but it’s a fair bit underwhelming. After twenty minutes or so I found myself equally intrigued and impatient, and every ten minutes after that the ratio tipped further over into impatience, unfortunately. Once you realise what’s going on (and it took me longer than most, I think it used misdirection fairly well, actually), it’s also hardly original. You will have seen the film’s twist (or at least a variant of it) before.


Perhaps not an original film so much as a unique blend of different films, this creepy horror film has its moments, for sure. However, that’s all there is- good moments. It’s total isn’t quite as impressive as some of the parts. Well-acted, occasionally enjoyable, but too slowly paced to keep you invested. I started to tune out a bit, I’m afraid and if you work out where it’s headed even quicker than me you might have an even tougher time staying interested in it than I did. Overrated, me thinks (including by my colleagues over at Horror Asylum, I might add).


Rating: C+


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