Austrian filmmakers Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala helmed the 2014 psychological horror film Goodnight Mommy German: Ich seh, Ich seh, lit. ‘I see, I see’; UK: Goodnight Mummy.
Although it was Austria’s official submission to the 88th Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film category, it ultimately received no nominations.
On September 16th, 2022, an American version of the film starring Naomi Watts will debut on Amazon Prime Video.
A mother Susanne Wuest who used to be a local TV celebrity as a member of a choir returns to her ultra-contemporary lakeside home to find her nine-year-old identical twin kids, Elias and Lukas Elias, and Lukas Schwarz, inside after spending the day in a neighboring cornfield and the water.
Only her eyes and mouth are uncovered by the bandages covering her entire head. The appearance of the mother frightens the twins, and when she starts acting strangely, they are completely taken aback.
She seems to solely talk to and include Elias in her meal-preparation activities, ignoring Lukas completely.
Despite the fact that it is the midst of summer, the mother has imposed a tight rule of silence inside the house as she’s necessary to rest after the surgery and has only allowed the twins to play outdoors in the garden.
This is per the mother’s doctor’s orders to protect her from the sun. When Elias is naughty or rebellious, his mother likewise acts harshly and lashes out at him physically and verbally.
Neither of the boys believes that their mother would ever do something like that. The twins start to worry that their mom isn’t the same person under all those bandages.
When they discover an old photo of the mother in the album with another woman who is dressed similarly and has similar features, their suspicions are reinforced.
help from the priest at a church in a nearby town. The priest takes them home and accepts the woman’s story about how she is their mother, how she and their father recently divorced, and how she lost her father in a horrific car accident.
Wrapping her in bandages and tape, the brothers refuse to let her go until she reveals the location of their biological mother.
When the woman continues to insist that she is the twins’ mother, the children resort to using a magnifying glass to burn her face in an effort to get the woman to tell them where their true mother is hiding.
Her mouth is then taped shut. Two Red Cross workers have shown up to take your donations. After waiting for Elias to steal money from his mother’s handbag, the group decides to leave the house without waiting for her to return.
While this is going on, the woman finally manages to free her mouth from the sticky tape, but it is too late for her to get the attention of the Red Cross workers. The siblings superglue her lips together, then find she can’t eat.
She had her mouth sliced open by the twins with a miniature pair of scissors. The woman continues to pee on the bed as she is confined in her bindings.
After the lads unchained her so they could change the sheets, she was able to defeat them and make her escape. However, the twins have set up a booby trap that leads her to trip and fall, knocking her out. She wakes up stuck on the floor of the living room.
Elias threatens to set fire to the house unless she reveals the truth about their mother. It is the woman’s firm belief that she is the biological mother of the twins.
The woman continues by informing Elias that Lukas drowned while swimming, implying that Lukas has been nothing more than a hallucination brought on by dissociative identity disorder and that Elias is suffering from Capgras delusion and hence is unable to accept the death of his other half.
She sobs as she tells her son Elias that Lukas’s death was not his fault and begs him to let her go so that they can both heal. Elias questions what Lukas is up to and dares her to prove she is their mother by answering.
Since she hasn’t experienced Elias’s hallucination in which Lukas is depicted as threatening to set fire to a curtain, she is at a loss for an answer.
While fantasizing that his brother is helping him start the fire, Elias lights the curtain so that his real mother may see Lukas. After wailing in pain from the flames, the woman eventually dies.
Unharmed and dressed in a yellow dress from a happy family portrait, the woman walks out of the house and into the woods as firefighters work to put out the fire.
Elias and Lukas are shown in the final scene of the film going across a cornfield to join their mother; they are shown smiling and holding each other close as they sing Lukas’s favorite song.
Elias binds Mother to the floor with glue and then sets her and the home on fire as the final act of Goodnight Mommy.
She meets a horrible end, and we can only presume that Elias does as well. A woman, representing Mother’s departed spirit, is seen emerging from the house, which has been circled in red.
When it’s all said and done, Elias is reunited with Lukas and Mother in the afterlife.
It’s tragic either way since Elias is a disturbed young man who, if left to his own devices, can only bring harm to himself and others.