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Off Limits

[Sometimes you have to break character to reach out to readers. We apologize for the lack of posting the last week and a half. One of our lead writers had a baby over that span and it was a more extensive and arduous process than traditionally expected. We thank you for your understanding, and we should be back on track as of today!]

Goodnight Mommy is an Austrian psychological horror film that follows twin boys that suspect that a woman is posing as their mother following her plastic surgery. The boys believe the masked-in-bandages woman isn't their mother, but an imposter, and they seek out the truth by increasingly aggressive means.

Goodnight Mommy is all about the mother/son dynamic, despite the "twist" present in the film. There is so much happening psychologically that the film deserves a second viewing when your mind isn't distracted by the primary plot or the mystery of the film. There are so many nuances and behavioral instances that really get the mind cooking. Sadly, it is hard to explore the value of the film without diving into the twist, so it will be spoilers ahead from this point.


It seems apparent from the opening sequence that one of the twin boys, Lukas, is not real. The film didn't seem to try hard hiding this fact, as the allusions to this truth are far to apparent and frequent throughout the film. But, what you don't know is whether Lukas is an apparition only his brother can see or a fragment of his twin brother's psyche. I found much of the film revolving around this, and the more I watched the less interested in the intimidating mother I became.

The film builds this tension that is immediately tossed on the unsettling behavior of the mother. As the film progresses, this tension slowly turns from the mother to the boys. And before you can realize it's happened, the film has gone from an imposter film to a sympathetic psychological thriller in which you switch allegiances.

The film's transition is so subtle that you still feel uncomfortable on the happenings by the time the cameras roll. Despite the events that took place, you still feel that no one received consequences worthy of their actions. The metaphors for guilt seemed equally balanced with the vague references to death-catalyzed divorce and the toll it takes.

The acting and directing is superb throughout. A film like this requires such attention and precision to work effectively and this film delivered. It's haunting, even after the credits roll. It is hard to pick it apart for any error, but perhaps it could have alluded its twist a little less to drive home a little more fun in the climax.

Horror Qualifier: 7/10

Horror Quality: 7/10

Film Quality: 9/10

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