GOODNIGHT MOMMY

—by Jeff Schultz

This seems to me like a European version of an M. Night Shyamalan movie. It’s THE VISIT meets THE SIXTH SENSE, and with the latter in mind, I’ll say it’s definitely worth a second viewing to see more clearly just how the writer/directors pulled off their twist all the way through. Promoted as a scary thriller, it’s not too scary and only intermittently thrilling. Rather, its strength lies in its mystery, and the absorbing way it handles the 180° turn at the halfway point. Twins Lukas and Elias Schwartz play twins named Lukas and Elias; their relationship, which has the closeness of blood, is virtually wordless — they seem to communicate almost telepathically. Susanne Wuest, scary-good from the beginning as Mommy (“Mommy”?) undergoes two transformations after that aforementioned midpoint twist, nailing it all. Bonus points for two special effects, the first involving head-shaking in a forest that I didn’t quite understand but is a deeply unsettling image, and the second involving cockroaches inside the body — the best such iteration since E. G. Marshall exploded in CREEPSHOW.

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