Metal Maniac

Movie Suggestion XL: Ich Seh, Ich Seh

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Movie Suggestion XL: Ich Seh, Ich Seh

 

Country: Austria – 2014

 

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror

 

Directed by: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz

 

Starring: Susanne Wuest, Elias Schwarz, Lukas Schwarz.

 

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Synopsis: “In the heat of the summer. A lonesome house in the countryside between woods and corn fields. Nine-year-old twin brothers are waiting for their mother. When she comes home, bandaged after cosmetic surgery, nothing is like before. The children start to doubt that this woman is actually their mother. It emerges an existential struggle for identity and fundamental trust.” (Ulrich Seidl Film)

 

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“Not since Michael Haneke unleashed a pair of psychotic young sadists on an unsuspecting family in his original 1997 Funny Games has a summer getaway in the peaceful Austrian countryside seemed less like a vacation. A wicked little chiller full of foreboding and malevolent twists, Goodnight Mommy is the first narrative feature from writer-directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, respectively the partner and nephew of producer Ulrich Seidl. As that connection might imply, this insidious tale of a mother-son bond gone haywire is squirm-inducing stuff. It has cult potential stamped all over it. (…)

 

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The story’s acceleration from anxiety to panic to hellish chaos is expertly managed, but more impressively, so is the control of internal narrative logic. As each piece of the puzzle gradually comes together, starting well into the film with the reason for the mother’s surgery, a mental replay of everything that’s happened up to that point makes consistent sense.

 

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Well-timed appearances by minor characters from outside the family unit — the weirdo village sexton, the priest, a local farmer, two Red Cross charity collectors — add to the tension, as well as the subversive humor. But it’s the three terrific central performances that are crucial to Goodnight Mommy’s effectiveness, not least in the way the boys appear to grow older, harder and more physically menacing as events progress. The intense concentration on primordial mother-child ties, their steady perversion and the psychological damage of withheld love makes this film riveting and visceral.” (hollywoodreporter.com)

 

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“So committed are the filmmakers to not cheating on their premise that they repeatedly show their hand, to the point where the big, belated reveal feels entirely anticlimactic. Not that it really matters, though, as the movie is otherwise pure nightmare fuel, building in intensity from its artfully uneasy opening scenes to its closing gauntlet of horror. The violence becomes almost unbearably brutal, and I can’t blame the multiple viewers who sprinted for the exit when their breaking points were reached. But fans of extreme cinema should consider this a must-see.” (avclub.com)

 

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“While garden variety American horror movies aren’t prude about turning children into harbingers of evil (take for example, uh, any contemporary US horror movie) “Goodnight Mommy” goes to even further, more horrifying lengths to propose that children could actually be inherently malevolent. This is a must-see for fans of extreme cinema and those movie-lovers who get off on taut editing, delicately placed sound design and tightly wound storytelling—and a must-never-see for pretty much everybody else.” (indiewire.com)

 

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All images belong to their rightful owners.

May 4, 2015

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