Combustible Celluloid
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With: Lukas Schwarz, Elias Schwarz, Susanne Wuest, Hans Escher, Elfriede Schatz, Karl Purker, Georg Deliovsky, Christian Steindl, Christian Schatz, Erwin Schmalzbauer
Written by: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Directed by: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violent content and some nudity
Language: German, with English subtitles
Running Time: 99
Date: 09/10/2015

Goodnight Mommy (2015)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Mama Trauma

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

To put it politely, Goodnight Mommy is on messed up movie. Halfway between a horror film and a psychological thriller, it was somehow Austria's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category at this year's Oscars, but did not receive a nomination. In any case, the National Board of Review chose it as one of the year's top 5 imports. It concerns ten year-old identical twins Elias and Lukas (Elias and Lukas Schwarz), whose mother (Susanne Wuest) returns home after some kind of facial reconstruction surgery. Her head is in bandages, and after she exhibits some strange behavior, the boys decide that she isn't really their mother, but, rather, some kind of impostor. They desperately want her to prove herself, but all the evidence she submits is alarmingly ambiguous. Eventually the boys resort to drastic measures (and I mean drastic). The movie has a mind-twisting climax that will have you wanting to go back and check again to make sure you saw it right. However, animal lovers are warned to think twice before proceeding. The writing/directing duo Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala make their feature filmmaking debut with this.

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