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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Goodnight Mommy (2022)

A mostly pointless remake of an eight-year old Austrian original. I mean, really, is that the statute of limitations on horror remakes these days? Eight years? If you're not an avid cinemagoer, you could arguably say that you could go and watch both versions in the same decade and not go to the cinema and watch anything else, such is the short time between them.

Not that you're likely to, of course. This is currently slutting itself out on Amazon Prime, possibly the best place for it, having little to no fanfare prior to its release. As I say, as a remake, it is superfluous but not absolutely terrible, in the same way as, say Haneke's second stab at Funny Games (cough), was alright, but still not really needed.

Two young boys are dropped off at their Mother's (Naomi Watts) house by their Father. I'm surprised he went as far as turning off the engine upon arrival. He has the same reaction as I do when going near my Ex's house. "I won't stay, she wouldn't thank me for it", before high-tailing it out of there, burning rubber, leaving my unfortunate spawn to whatever fate she has planned for them.

Except something is not right about her (Watts, not the Ex, let's not even go there). She wears a mask, claiming to have had some facial surgery. Personally, I think a horrible oozing and gaping wound would have still been more preferable and less nervy, so still no kudos in the Parenting 101 department then. It doesn't help that she is not the same calming, loving presence that the boys were expecting. An overheard phone call gives yet more away and at the same, poses more questions. Just who is this woman? Is she even their mother at all?

It's a remake, almost line for line, so if you've seen the original, you know the answer to that question already. This is mostly as harmless as it is scary, rarely making you jump to any degree and the amount of real malevolence on display will make you roll your eyes and tut a bit at its lack of bite. There is a cohesive narrative going on, though you're not really supposed to realise that until the third act reveal, but again, you may already know what's coming by now. Watts' performance is quite good, but the boys are directed to be a little wet and drippy, which was a shame, until a curious twist makes their characters all the more intriguing. Not the steaming, coiled turd it may have been, far from it, but not being shit is not exactly a ringing endorsement either.

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