Last night, Phillip and I watched a 2014 Austrian movie named Goodnight Mommy. (The original title is Ich seh, ich seh. I don’t read German, but I can tell the English title is not a direct translation.) I’d put it on our Netflix queue because I’d been reading a lot of positive reviews of it. It had been called the scariest movie of the year. The trailer was terrific.
I was disappointed. I think Phillip was, too.
Goodnight Mommy is the story of nine-year-old twin boys who live in a modern, isolated house surrounded by woods and corn fields. Their mother comes home from surgery with her head completely bandaged. She doesn’t act like she did before the surgery. The boys become more and more convinced that she is not, in fact, their mother, and are determined to learn the truth. Since the movie never shows us the mother before the surgery, we don’t know the truth, either.
It’s a great idea for a story. It’s beautifully filmed. It’s well-acted. It’s not a bad movie.
Here’s the problem: Less than thirty minutes into it, we both figured out what the “big reveal” was going to be. We both spent the whole movie seeing right through the clues laid out. Here’s the bigger problem: The movie was filled with scenes apparently put in just to throw us off from figuring out that “big reveal”, which, in hindsight, don’t really make any sense.
Yes, Goodnight Mommy is a scary movie – in the gross-out sense of the term. Just don’t expect to be surprised by the ending.