Sunday, April 3, 2016

Horror Film Review

Goodnight Mommy (2014):  This movie pissed me off.  Critics raved and praised like they did with The Witch, and as with that overrated film, this one tries to convince us it's unique and assumes we'll simply gush over the originality.  But because I've watched more than a dozen horror flicks in my life and am not a moron, gushing shall not be forthcoming.  What will be forthcoming are an ass-load of spoilers.

The mother of pre-teen twins Elias and Lukas returns home after what appears to be some rather extensive cosmetic surgery.  Her head's wrapped up like she's the invisible man.  The boys are wary, the mother seemingly awkward and nervous.  We're ten minutes in and I'm already annoyed.  Why are the boys alone in the house?  Why's the mom acting squirrelly?  Where's the dad?  I know there is one because he's briefly mentioned.  Anyway, the mom gets even more squirrelly, the boys almost immediately conclude she's not their mom, and there's a 50-gallon fish tank full of fucking cockroaches for no reason whatsoever.  I suppose one could make the case for a Kafka influence, but it won't be me.  Elias defies mom, wants proof she's his mom, which sends her nearly over the edge.  He gets smacked around, locked in his room, and forced to repeat ten times that she is his mother.  But what about Lukas, you ask?  Now that's the primary reason I'm pissed.  Any horror nerd with half a brain will immediately spot it.  Elias' twin isn't really there.  Either a ghost or a hallucination.  It's around this time that the boys decide something must be done with the person passing herself off as their mother.  And that's when this movie shifts gears and suddenly becomes Misery.  Instead of Kathy Bates we have two 10 year-old boys.  We start to notice that Lukas sure whispers in his brother's ear a lot.  What possible agenda could a dead boy have?  Like I said, not a moron, seen tons of horror flicks.  We eventually piece together that there was an accident (no details), Lukas died (no details) and Elias still sees him (duh), and mom and dad separated (no details).  Does Lukas drive Elias to start the fire that kills him and their mom?  (Oh, right.  Yes, she is their mom.)  Of course he did.  He wanted them all to be together.  Is any of this original?  No.  Is it gush-worthy?  Hell no.

A few additional and random annoyances.  Early on, the mom walks into the woods at night, naked, and does one of those supernatural full body spasms where they shake like a can of paint on the mixer.  Why?  A red herring.  While she sleeps, the boys nudge a huge cockroach into climbing into her mouth.  She doesn't wake or even twitch.  Why?  Another red herring.  Really early on, the boys stumble upon a cave full of human bones.  For this one, I got nothing.  Then there's the thing with the cat suspended in formaldehyde in the re-tasked fish tank...  OK.  That was original.

The Skinny

Acting:  The acting wasn't the problem.
Story:  This was the problem.
Direction:  And this.
Production Values:  Not a problem.
Gore/FX:  Problem.  Too little of both.
Scares:  Bigger problem.  There weren't any.
Ending:  Problematic in that you see it coming but hope to God you're wrong.  You're not.
Verdict:  Should you see Goodnight Mommy?  I can't imagine why you'd want to.  The boys aren't cruel enough and the mom isn't enigmatic enough to make it work.  Go watch Children of the Corn and Misery instead.

Rating:  2 out of 5

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