Goodnight Mommy debuted on Prime Video this weekend as a new thriller/horror film. It was a remake of a 2014 Austrian film of the same name. I saw several reviews of the new film saying that it did not live up to the original and that it watered down the suspense and the tension of the first version.
But here’s the thing. I have not seen the original version, so I was not affected by the apparently lesser version. I watched Goodnight Mommy with fresh eyes, and I have to say that I liked most of what I saw.
Twin brothers Elias (Cameron Crovetti) and Lukas (Nicholas Crovetti) are dropped off at their mother’s isolated house by their father. Their mother had just had plastic surgery and was still recovering from it, wrapping her face with bandages.
However, as time passes and the boys see some strange behavior from their mother (Naomi Watts), they start to fear that something terrible has happened and that the woman was not truly their mother.
In the first part of the movie, they plant several pieces of evidence to make you feel as if the mother was doing something sinister and her interactions with the children was clearly off in some manner. The mystery of what was going on really started off strong and I wanted to know what the answer was.
The biggest problem I had was a certain CGI heavy scene about half way through the movie that was meant to give an answer in one specific manner, but turned out to be a huge red herring. I did not like the scene when it first was shown because I thought to took away the mystery and then later when I learned the truth, I liked it even less because it was meant to be such a manipulative scene that made no sense in the overall narrative and was not refenced again.
I will say though, the film delivered a twist at the end that I was not expecting and that I found very interesting. Sadly, the conclusion never really built on the psychological aspects of the reveal and it felt as if they missed an opportunity to really create a tension-filled scare.
The three lead actors in this version were really solid. Naomi Watts is always an excellent actor no matter what she is in and the twin brothers, Cameron (who plays Ryan in Amazon’s series, The Boys) and Nicholas Crovetti match her in intensity and effort. These performances make the flaws within the script lesser as they elevate the material.
There are some strange decisions in this film that are meant to manipulate, but I do think that I enjoyed the strong parts of Goodnight Mommy more than I was distracted by the weaker parts. Perhaps if I had seen the original, my opinion would have been more colored, but since I have not, I found this to be an interesting and flawed watch.