Effectively creepy, but ultimately lacking in anything to distinguish from its 2014 Australian predecessor, Matt Sobel’s Goodnight Mommy is slight. Though it might pique the interest of thriller aficionados and Naomi Watts fans, the film is ultimately disposable.
Twin brothers Elias and Lukas (Cameron and Nicholas Crovetti) travel to their mother’s country home. When they arrive, they find their mother (Naomi Watts) covered in bandages, which she explains as recent cosmetic surgery.
As the days continue, the boys witness escalating strange behaviors by their mother. Increasingly concerned, Lukas convinces Elias that the woman underneath the bandages is not their mother at all. As tensions rise and their mother’s erratic behavior continues, the boys begin to take matters into their own hands to unmask the woman underneath the bandages.
Goodnight Mommy approaches the relationship between brothers (especially twins) as that of a single mind. Elias and Lukas both share similar emotions and motivations, and with barely different personalities. The two look and act so similar, that it’s difficult to tell the two apart. However, the film misses multiple opportunities to differentiate the two. This is because it’s either unwilling or incapable of doing so.
Without spoiling anything, the Australian film planted seeds of mystery throughout the film. This version, however, is more straightforward. Any clues to the film’s conclusion are rushed at the film’s climax and are really never given an overt explanation. At the end of Goodnight Mommy, the audience is left with more questions than answers. Unfortunately, the questions barely register as more than a passing thought.
Watts spends the bulk of the runtime under a surgical mask, but it lets the viewer’s imagination run wild. Still, Watts is such a dynamic presence, her face does not need to be seen to convey what she brings to the character. Unfortunately, the film is far more interested in the twins than they are in her character.
The Crovetti twins do very little to give their characters any sort of characterization. What kind of kids are they? What do they enjoy doing? All we know is that they love their mother and they are twins. The screenplay does them no favors, but the actors don’t elevate the material in any memorable way. Jeremy Bobb and Crystal Lucas-Perry have a brief few scenes as a pair of police officers, but the narrative rests solely on the Crovettis and Watts.
Too silly to take seriously but too straight-faced to enjoy, Goodnight Mommy wastes an always dependable Naomi Watts under surgical bandages and a poor screenplay.
Goodnight Mommy is now available to stream on Amazon Prime