2014. Austria. Directed by Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz. The dread of parental abandonment is trumped by the terror of menacing spawn in Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s exquisite, cerebral horror-thriller. Lukas and Elias are nine-year-old twins, alone with their fantastical playtime adventure-worlds in a countryside home, until their mother comes home from facial-reconstructive surgery. Or is she their mother? Her head entirely bandaged, and her personality radically changed, the boys begin to wonder what this stranger has done to their “real” mother. They set out to uncover the truth, by any means their childish minds can conjure. As with most fairy tales, it turns out that children can imagine and endure things that cause more mature minds and bodies to wither from fear. Produced by renowned auteur—and frequent script collaborator with Franz—Ulrich Seidl, Goodnight Mommy is an intelligent and engaging step forward for Austrian cinema. Fans of Michael Haneke’s work will find much to appreciate as well. Ultimately, this is a heartbreaking tale of love and loss wrapped in one of the scariest films of the year. A RADiUS-TWC release. DCP. In German; English subtitles. 100 min.
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