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Apple of Mother's Eye

The Eyes of My Mother follows a young woman who befalls malicious tendencies after an extremely traumatic event as a child. Unable to properly cope with her violent past, she develops a murderous habit that can't be quenched on the secluded farm she calls home. Her disturbed perspective on life and family reaches a boiling point when her loneliness becomes the catalyst for her to take her violent desires off the property.

The Eyes of My Mother Review

This film proved my ignorance in my abuse of the word "unsettling" in past reviews. This film feels truly disturbing, and does most of the damage with powerful cinematography and an unbelievable job by lead actress, Kika Magalhaes. It has virtually no gore and limited violence, letting the acting and effective sound design do the heavy lifting. Everything is left to the mind, but it paints a perfect image that your brain's filling of the gaps is likely worse than had they just shown it on screen.

I am not a fan of black and white films for the sake of it. As much as I'd like to say it was necessary for the atmosphere of the film, I simply don't think it was. It doesn't necessarily affect the fantastic quality of the film. After all, Schindler's List is in black and white and I don't feel that was necessary either, despite what every critic known to man might say. It's mostly a personal thing...I find it distracting, because I keep waiting for it to have a purpose to the delivery of the story. And while I never found that Easter egg, I stopped noticing the b&w take well before the midway point, because the rest of the film was that well-made.

I can't speak enough on the performance of Kika. Her vicious innocence and other contradictory elements of her persona make her equal parts intriguing and terrifying. I haven't seen such elation and satisfaction in the lust of the kill since Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs. It was an organic necessity for her, like breathing and eating, that she couldn't disconnect from how life should be. It's an impressive performance.

I am normally irritated to no end when the camera pulls away from the kill scene. I came here to see the degeneracy of the villain come to fruition on screen, not see the director weasel out of it with an off-camera blood splatter to save a couple hundred dollars. Yet, this film manages to make the moments just as intense and disconcerting as if you'd actually seen it. You know exactly what she's doing, so we're cutting to the highlight of her performance and the cinematography, rather than the violence, which at this point is a side note on the horror noir crescendo.

This film broke a lot of "conventional rules" that tend to be on my subjective list of requirements for making an entertaining horror film. Yet, it managed to prove me wrong, and show me that I can still appreciate and enjoy a good horror film outside of my wheelhouse. It may still not be the right film for you. It is unusual and patiently paced. But I was still surprised at just how much I enjoyed it.

Horror Qualifier: 7/10

Horror Quality: 7/10

Film Quality: 8/10

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