Naomi Watts in Remake of 2014 Austrian Horror Thriller – Deadline


The horror movie of 2014 Good night mom was considered good enough to be Austria’s official entry into the race for foreign-language films at the Oscars that year (it was not nominated, however), and it has since achieved something of a cult status . Apparently, that’s why there’s now an English-language remake with A-list star Naomi Watts in the lead role. While the Austrian film opted for the jugular, this version has other ideas. Director Matt Sobel and his screenwriter Kyle Warren – adapting the script from the 2014 film by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, who have executive producer credits here and also directed the German-language version – had other ideas, wanting to lighten up the gore and explore more sensitively the shared psychological and mysterious aspects of the story.


The premise remains intact as a father (Peter Hermann) drops off his twins, Elias (Cameron Crovetti) and Lukas (Nicholas Crovetti), at his ex’s and their mother’s secluded estate. Seeing them for the first time, however, mom (Watts) looks more like Mummy, as only her eyes and mouth are visible through a white mask, she explains that it’s the result of recent surgery to give her life a boost, so to speak. She’s an actress, so it’s no surprise, but what increasingly bothers them is that her personality has changed drastically. She’s no longer the sweet mom they remember, the loving parent who sang them to sleep with “You Are My Sunshine” or was a sweet anchor for their own growing pains. And what about almost naked dancing in front of a mirror and smoking?

Now that’s a total bitch, or at least that’s what they, especially Elias, perceive, and it’s only getting worse to the point that they – again, especially Elias – are starting to wonder whether that person behind the mask is really their mother at all or some kind of impostor. Soon they act on their fears, but the tension between the “mother” and the boys only increases when she surprises them in the barn, a place where they should not be exploring. The whole thing becomes childhood nightmare to end all childhood nightmares when your own mother becomes a complete stranger to everything you know. What are you doing? And where is all this going?

‘Goodnight Mommy’ Trailer: Naomi Watts Directs Amazon’s Reimagining of Austrian Psychological Thriller

It was the same puzzle as the original, but this film turned the boys into their own little monsters, acting physically and violently on what they convinced themselves to be the truth – their truth, at least – and when you deeply believe something is true, you do whatever you can to survive. Even a visit from the cops (Crystal Lucas-Perry and Jeremy Bobb) does nothing to help matters and, as in the age-old tradition of films like this, they completely dismiss the children’s claims about their mother and instead choose to siding with the now-unmasked and completely normal-looking mum, who promises to send them Blu-rays in appreciation for helping bring the kids back to her.

From there, it would be hard to call it truly a horror film but more outright a psychological thriller, emphasizing the psychological and the fairly mild “thrills”. That seems to be the filmmakers’ intention, anyway, as they claim they liked the premise but wanted to emphasize a very different aspect of how the story unfolds. Somewhere here is a very interesting concept. What happens when you start to doubt everything you thought you knew and, more specifically, the woman who gave birth to you? Do you believe the big lie or are you desperate for the truth? I only wish this all didn’t go so religiously by numbers like this, that the “twists” weren’t there just to throw you off the track and that the so called shock ending hadn’t been telegraphed a mile .

At least, for Watts enthusiasts — and you can definitely count me as one — she’s in great shape (she’s also an executive producer), but the hardware lets her down. Lately, she has been seen in many films on streaming or VOD that physically challenge her, including Infinite Storm; the desperate Time;and my favourite, the marvelous Penguin Flower. Here, it is hoped that producers will once again find something worthy of his considerable talents for the silver screen. The Crovetti twins are excellent; they played the twins of Watts’ good friend, Nicole Kidman, in the much better Big little lies. The producers are VJ Guibal, Nicolas Brigaud-Robert, Joshua Astrachan and David Kaplan. Amazon’s Prime Video begins a global streaming rollout on Friday.

Check out my video review with clips from the film at the link above. Do you plan to see Good night mom ? let us know what you think.


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