Goodnight Mommy

Goodnight Mommy

goodnight mommy movie still

Todd & Craig review a deeply unsettling new Swedish film that just came across the border. For a story with very little dialogue, it turns out we had a lot to say about it. But we found this foreign thriller one of the spookier and unusual movies to come out recently.

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Goodnight Mommy (2014)

Episode 8, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd: Welcome to another edition of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.

Craig: I’m Craig.

Todd: And, uh, today we decided to watch a Swedish film. This was my suggestion. I, after having some friends over for Halloween night, watched a trailer for a film that a few friends had brought up to me that piqued my interest to called Goodnight Mommy. It was a little different from what the trailer sort of promised.

I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. Uh, you didn’t know anything 

Craig: about this. And I was really kind of surprised because I’ve told you before that I, you know, I, I. I’m kind of a completist I’ll watch just about anything. Good, bad. Regardless. I read up a lot on horror films and I don’t recall ever having heard of this one and yeah, it w it certainly different than, uh, a lot of the movies that we’ve talked about in the past.

I don’t even, I don’t even know how I would categorize this film really to 

Todd: you. It’s hard to call it a straight out horror film because a good majority of the running time, it kind of goes through and it’s a drama. In a way, um, there is a sense of unease. Oh, definitely throughout it, uh, where you’re not quite sure what’s going on, but you think you sort of have it figured out.

And then it’s about the last 30 minutes, 20 to 30 minutes or so that suddenly things get pretty intense. Yeah. 

Craig: I mean, it’s unsettling from the beginning, but honestly, I guess there’s a certain mystery to it in the beginning. I really kind of felt like I had the mystery figured out pretty early on. I mean, it, it, it seemed fairly obvious and I kept waiting for maybe there to be some sort of twist that would throw me off my game and the twist didn’t really come.

I mean, kind of what I thought was going on is what was going on, but it did keep me on my seat the whole time. And it certainly was unsettling, especially in those last, uh, 30 minutes. I mean, really, really 

Todd: unsettling stuff. Yeah, it’s it starts out. Uh, we’re basically in a very beautiful countryside area, very interesting European style house, a house it’s really too big for its 

Craig: inhabitants.

Right. And it isn’t, it’s like a modern style house with, uh, you know, those, those hanging globe chairs and kind of really interesting artwork all over the place. Pretty extravagant, you know, house and, uh, just this. It’s like a 

Todd: Kia meets MoMA. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And, and they’re in this house and it’s, it’s two brothers.

Um, they’re playing through the countryside, Lucas and ileus and they are, we get quite a bit of just them playing around with each other. Um, going through these fields, it’s clear that the house is pretty secluded. Yes, definitely. And, uh, wandering around inside, and then their mother comes 

Craig: home. Right. And the boys are twins.

I didn’t pick up on that immediately, but it became pretty clear pretty soon. And throughout the movie, they were. Almost identical clothing in the first half of the movie, their clothing is identical except for they would wear different color shirts. So, but B and then towards the end of the movie, they started dressing, uh, even more alike.

And, and these boys, these actors are clearly, obviously. Identical twins. And, uh, that in itself is a little bit unsettling. Yeah. I don’t know why, but there’s something kind of creepy about kids in general in, in scary movies. And then you throw in the whole twin aspect and they clearly have a very tight bond as you know, Twins do I guess?

Uh, it 

Todd: is it’s and they’re very quiet and they don’t really leave each other’s side. It’s almost like if you’re watching the shining through the eyes of the two girls, just watching them the whole time. 

Craig: I was very much reminded of the two little girls in the shining. It was very evocative of that. 

Todd: If there’s a silence through most of this film, there’s probably maybe six pages of 

Craig: dialogue.

Yeah, maybe not very much. And, and it’s really limited in scope as far as character is concerned too. We’ve really just got three principal actors. Um, the two boys, uh, who apparent in real life are, are named the same names that they have in the film. Uh, and then their mother. And then there are few characters who enter for no more than a minute or two, but beyond that, it is focused solely on this small family.


Todd: Mom comes home. She’s clearly had some kind of surgery done. Uh, you’re not sure if it’s from an accident or, but, but then you kind of get a closer look at the bandages and you realize it must have been some kind of plastic surgery. 

Craig: It looks like cosmetic surgery, and it’s suggested that she’s in television, she’s, uh, a television host or something, uh, a moderate celebrity, uh, at least that’s what the boys suggest.

So maybe her appearances. Is important. You know, if there has been some kind of accident, maybe it’s reconstructive or, you know, maybe she’s just in the entertainment industry and she’s had some pretty extensive work. 

Todd: You don’t know, getting a little nip and tuck there. Um, and she comes home and she’s speaking with them and right off the bat, she gives them instructions.

Um, you know, the doctor said that I’m, uh, I’m supposed to take it easy. I need to be in bed a lot of the day. Let’s not open the blinds because I need sunlight. I don’t want a lot of sunlight. Don’t bring any animals into the house. And then it’s just kind of a somber attitude. As the boys in this quiet home with their mother are.

Walking around and they get this feeling, at least from talking to each other that she’s not really their mother. 

Craig: Yeah. And it’s really bizarre. I mean, it’s obvious that something is going on from the beginning. First of all, the mother seems very sinister. Uh, at the beginning, she’s very short with the boys.

Now, I suppose if you’re looking at this from a rational perspective, she just had surgery. So, you know, she’s, she’s recovering. I mean, maybe she’s in pain, maybe she’s, you know, not feeling well. And she’s really just trying to get them to take care of themselves so she doesn’t have to worry about it, but there’s a coldness between her and the boys.

And very early on, it’s established. That she’s not communicating with both boys. She refuses to acknowledge one of them. Uh, she will only acknowledge Les, which upsets the boys clearly. And, and you’re wondering from the beginning, you know, what is going on here? And, and like I said, knowing what, well, generally speaking, knowing what kind of movie we were getting into, I immediately had questions.

That ended up being right. I mean, you lay it out 

Todd: right here, I guess. So you sort of do, because you’re not going to watch this and get 10 minutes in without coming to the same conclusion that Lucas is a ghost. Yeah. Or, 

Craig: or, or he doesn’t exist  or something. Um, she she’s clearly not acknowledging him. Lucas never speaks directly to her.

He always relays his messages through, uh, Aliyah. When he does respond to the mother, if he does, she seemingly ignores it, but it becomes pretty apparent that. He’s not there. She can, she can only communicate with Alius. 

Todd: Yeah. She communicates with him. Um, whenever Lucas says something, she doesn’t really respond, uh, and then Eli ileus will repeat it.

And then she’ll sort of respond to that. And I think it’s Lucas that sort of plants, the idea, and Aaliyah says had that maybe this isn’t our 

Craig: mother. It seems that way. And at first I couldn’t tell, I thought his, he did. And then I thought. Are they all dead? I didn’t know what was going on. I thought, you know, especially since they were, you know, dressed identically, except one of them was typically in a light colored shirt and the other one was dark.

I’m like, are they trying to throw symbolism at us? Here? Is this like his dark side manifesting or something like an imaginary friend or something, but it seems pretty apparent from the beginning. That there’s only one boy and the conflict then arises with, uh, the two boys trying to get the mother to recognize them both.

Uh, and then they also have this lurking suspicion that she’s not who she says she is. She’s not their mother. 

Todd: And the mother is acting strangely too. That’s what really throws you off. You’re trying to puzzle this together and you sort of think, like Craig said, you sort of feel like you’ve got it figured out.

And then the mother starts doing weird things. She seems to be hiding her face from the boys. The boys are out playing. And as soon as they come in the house, we go back to the mother upstairs. She’s sitting on the edge of the bed and she kind of bolts to attention the back of her head towards us and quickly puts on the bandages that she had off.

Right. Like she’s wrapping them back up the 

Craig: boys. Yeah. And it does when she finally, when she takes off the mask, I mean, when she’s got the full mask on you’re, you’re thinking that her injuries or. W w the results of her surgeries must be pretty grotesque. And, and that’s why she’s trying to keep it covered.

But when she finally takes it off, she appears to be entirely healed. So it it’s, it’s a mystery, you know, what is going, what 

Todd: is going on? What did you think was going on? Coming from what we know about the end. And let’s just say for sake of argument, that there’s nothing wrong with the mother, except that maybe she’s sort of troubled.

I’m thinking of a, the Babadook, for example, you know, a mother who’s kind of dealing with a very difficult home situation and maybe that’s a focus of this. She stands in front of the mirror and her robe and just kind of stares at herself for awhile. Then there’s that very strange moment. We’re in the middle of the night, she goes out into the woods.

It’s basically drops all our clothing along the way, takes off her bandages and just sort of screams 

Craig: well, and it’s that really, it’s a commonly used effect that really, you know, fast head shaking, blurry, head shaking thing going on in the forest. And yeah, it’s very weird, you know, is, is she possessed? Is she a witch?

Um, that was the part really that I had big time questions about. So yeah. Before we started talking, I snuck onto some meshes message boards and you know, these aren’t experts, these are just guys like us talking on message boards, but one person suggested that that whole sequence was a dream. That it was, it was a, the boys dreaming or the alive boy dreaming.

Uh, and they backed that up by saying the very next shot is the boys sitting startled upright in bed. I didn’t even remember that. I guess I was just still trying to figure out what was going on. I mean, it was all happening in the nighttime, so it didn’t seem odd to me that the boys would be waking up. I thought maybe something that she was doing in the woods startled them, or they had some sense of it or something.

I don’t know. I think I’m going with that dream theory. Yeah, because it, it seems like it’s yes, it at the end that there’s really not anything wrong with the mother. In fact, when it comes right down to it, The movie is really just about a family in crisis. There apparently. I mean, we never know filled in with exactly what happened, but there was some sort of accident and the mother mentions a separation.

So we guess the dad is out of the picture and in just these really brief clips of conversation that they hear her speaking over the phone, she says things like, you know, it’s really hard, but I can’t play along anymore. So it seems like they have been dealing with the aftermath of some sort of catastrophe.

And I guess that would kind of explain her behavior too. She’s really struggling. I mean, if, if it is the case that she lost a son, I mean, obviously that’s something that she’s struggling with processing and if her living son. Is having some kind of psychotic episode, you know, it would make sense that she would be a little bit off her game.

Todd: Yeah. It’s, it’s it’s as though the living son is maybe imagining his brother. Uh, and then, but they’re little things that are just a little off about it that unsettle you, even when you’re trying to unpack this as a puzzle. And I think what we’re kind of saying here is there’s really maybe no puzzle to unpack and maybe that’s part of what makes it so unsettling is it’s so straight forward.

In a sense, the, the plots paper thin, um, the characters are they’re pretty well developed, but we only see this, the slice of their life. Right. We don’t really, there’s not a lot for them to play against in order for them to open up different aspects of their personnel. Right. 

Craig: We’re just thrown into their situation.

We get no context and we’re really never provided with the context other than just accident separation. That’s it. That’s all we get. I don’t know anything about psychology, but you know, maybe he’s just. Processing his grief and he can’t let go. Um, so maybe his mind is playing tricks on him. I guess there’s the possibility that there’s something supernatural going on, but I didn’t really get that feeling.

Todd: No, you, uh, well you always wonder, but you’re right. Uh, you don’t ever get that feel because everything that Lucas does get can be explained by Aelius as imagination and Elian himself doing it, or at least himself saying it right there. And then in that 

Craig: scene. Right. And I was trying to play really. To pay really close attention, because I wanted to, you know, as soon as I suspected that Lucas was dead, I wanted to see if anybody ever acknowledged him.

I wanted to see if he ever physically did anything that actually manifested in reality. And I don’t think it did. I think that, you know, he never directly communicates with anybody except alias. And although you kind of see, Oh gosh, Lucas, you see him doing things. It’s easy to believe either those things just really aren’t happening or that Lucas did it himself.

I mean, it’s, it’s not right. Right, right. It’s not difficult to, it’s not difficult to explain if that’s the theory you’re going 

Todd: with. It gets, um, strange about the point where they bring a cat in the house. At first, I was thinking, is this meant to throw us off? Is something weird or going on here, or this is the sort of theory I’m going with.

Is this. A really good job on the part of the filmmakers to bring us into the mind of a trouble. You know, you all know about that. Kids who are troubled. My mother worked at a psychiatric facility with pre-adolescence and there’s a whole laundry list of things that a troubled child will do. Um, that are sort of signs and, and part of the survey when they admit people is to kind of go through this list of things such as it has he or she, uh, tortured animals.

Uh, and has he, or she played, do they play with fire as this film was going off? I was almost checking them off. Obviously fire plays into it a big time. Yeah. He’s really into these cockroaches in these insects, he brings a cat into the house at. Specifically when the mother asked him not to hides the cat under the bed, mothers kind of looking for something and he manages to keep the cat hidden, but in the same way, the cat escapes, when they go and they are looking for the cat.

They find the cat dead down the basement, uh, behind the hot water heater. And I believe it’s Lucas who suggests maybe mom did this. Yeah, yeah. 

Craig: He’s I’m sure mom did it. And I was really curious about that scene too, because I thought that it was it what it said to me. Was that Lucas, whatever he is, whether he’s a projection, a manifestation, whatever he is, he’s taking every opportunity to turn alias against the mother.

Um, and there are even moments when Eliya is kind of, has. Remorse or, or, you know, he starts to feel a connection to his mother. Again, he starts to believe that she is who she says she is, but Lucas always steps in at the last minute to remind him know, you know, we knew she’d tried to trick us. And I wondered if that, you know, I, I don’t know.

I, I definitely know what you’re talking about with like the mutilation of animals and whatnot, but I almost wonder, you know, they find this cat. Like in a catacomb around their house or something, which is kind of weird, but you know, neat set piece. That’s true. Um, and they find the cat and the cat is really docile.

Like it’s kind of like mewling and, um, you know, they go over and they pet it and it doesn’t run away. No. And so they, you know, they take it home and, you know, the, the cat appears to be okay, but it never really comes out of this box. Now I know you’ve got cats. Cats really aren’t that dormant, at least not all the time.

So I kind of wondered if maybe when they found the cat, it was already sick and dying anyway, and then it escaped as animals will do to try to go find a place to die on their own. And then when they found it dead again, Lucas, whether he’s a darker side of, of aliases mind or whatever, he is use that as an opportunity to provide further suggestion against the mother.

Todd: It’s very possible. But then what they ended up doing with the cat is kind of sick and twisted. They’re kind of frustrated at mom. Well, well, let’s back up for a second. They’re playing with the cockroaches with her as well. They sneak into her room and, uh, drop a cockroach onto her chest while she’s sleeping.

She doesn’t wake up, but her mouth is slightly ajar. It’s more like one of those beautiful. 

Craig: Oh yeah. It’s one of the, no, it’s not Chinle Cochran, giant hissing cockroaches.  full of them, which is just kind of creepy. So maybe I should have been tipped off earlier that this kid was a little off, but I don’t know.

I mean, he’s a boy, I wasn’t that kind of boy, but he’s a boy, you know, maybe he just 

Todd: likes bugs or whatever. There’s sort of a slight explanation for all of it. And again, like what I come back to that theory of, of him being troubled is. That’s how it always seems to start, you know? Oh, well, he’s a boy he likes playing with with creepy, weird things.

Oh, he’s a boy. He’s a little aggressive and he’s too small. And he didn’t realize that he’d hurt such and such animal. You’d never really meant to do it. And then before, you know, it, all these signs are piling up together and it’s strange. The cockroach goes into the mom’s mouth and then nothing happens.

She doesn’t wake up that we know of. Right. And 

Craig: folks we’re talking about giant hissing cockroach, the horse thing, right. You know, this is some fear factor stuff going on. So it’s not just a little bug that you might not notice. Uh, so it’s very odd. And again, did this, you know, this happened, they kind of snuck into her room after she had angrily searched their room for the cat and she didn’t find it, but she had an altercation with alias.

Uh, a little bit of a physical altercation. She didn’t strike him or anything, but she kind of struggled with them on the bed. So they were angry with her and then snuck into her room and in the middle of the night and put this Roach in here, again, maybe a dream, I guess, I or not. 

Todd: I don’t know. It, it seemed, it was almost played as a sort of retaliation in a way, but then also this sort of sense of curiosity, but the fact that the seed.

Ends. It goes into her mouth, the scene ends and it’s the next day. Yeah. And that’s it. There’s no shot back to their surprised faces. It’s not played up like a horror movie would play up a scene like that. No, 

Craig: it’s, it’s almost surreal. You, you really can’t or I can’t. Locate the line between fantasy and reality.

Uh, a lot of the time, uh, throughout this movie, um, and going, you know, going back to what you were saying about maybe this boy being troubled anyway, even the interactions between the brothers, you know, the, the, the games that they play are violent games, you know, they hit each other and shove each other and, you know, they’ll smack one another and say, does that hurt?

No smack, does that hurt? No. You know, I don’t know. I’d never. I had a brother I’ve never been a twin. So maybe this is a kind of a common thing, but it’s, it’s, it’s odd and unsettling and it makes you question, you know, what’s, what’s going on here and what’s going on in these kids’ minds. And I 

Todd: think it was in retaliation for something else.

Then they dump out the tour. They take all the bugs out of the terrarium. They put the dead cat in there and they fill it up with water and you have this. Was it water? I, well, I 

Craig: think it was initially, it was initially. Okay. Yeah. Or maybe it wasn’t because at the end they settled on fire. Maybe it was like alcohol or something.

I mean, they were, they were pouring it out of this big plastic jug. I just assumed it was water, but maybe in the end, whatever it is is flammable. I just, I kind of assumed maybe they had added something, but. I guess it would make more sense if it was the same formaldehyde 

Todd: preserved thing 

Craig: and yeah. And they put the cat in there and then they leave it clearly so that the mom will find it.

And she 

Todd: does it almost as a decoration in the house. Right. And I have to say it fit in perfectly with that. Like if you didn’t know, it was a dead cat, the movie had kicked off with that thing in the middle of the, of the, uh, of the table. Oh yeah. Well, that’s kind of quirky, but deco kind of weird. That’s the, well, that was part of what I think also made the movie on settling was the design of the house.

The fact that a dead cat floating in a thing almost looks like another art piece along with the house. And then one thing that I noticed early on that just sort of keeps coming in, especially before we see mom’s bandages. Is there all these, these pieces of art on the wall and whenever there’s a human figure in them, there it’s like a blurry out of focus, kind of.

Craig: They’re either in silhouette or like, you know, shadow silhouette or right. Their faces are obscured and blurry. I noticed that too. And it’s odd. I want, because the mother seems to be so kind of invested in her looks, um, and maybe she’s a TV personality or something. I wondered there’s one really large, full length portrait of a woman.

That again, her, her face is obscured. But it was reminiscent of the mother. It was a blonde haired woman. Um, I don’t know if that was meant to be her. I don’t know. 

Todd: There were, to me, you know, that go all the way up to as far as like, is this just sort of a ghost house, you know, is this the sort of blurry memory of the mother and of the different things that happen throughout their lives that are sort of decorating the house?

I don’t think that’s what it is, but it just was a Testament, I think, to the design of the show. That I think those things were meant to play with you on a subconscious. 

Craig: Oh yeah, absolutely. I think so too. It 

Todd: plays into the mystery of who the mother is because you’re not seeing any faces on the wall to clue you in then later, the boys are staring at the pictures on the wall and there are many nail nails jutting out where clearly picture frames had been removed and had been removed.

And all the pictures are of them and their mom. So there’s no man in there or whatever. And they start going through the photo album and lots of photos have been removed, including one of the pages that says our wedding day, which is completely blank. And then. They come across that photo of the only other photo in the house of somebody else.

And it’s their mother and a girl, or like a friend, somebody about her same age, um, sort of 

Craig: what’s odd about it is in the picture, both women, the mother and the other woman. Are dressed in identical clothing and they’re very similar and feature. I mean, my first thought was, Oh, the mom has a twin too. You know, twins do kind of run in families.

So I thought that wouldn’t be that out there, but that was one of those things that I kind of thought. Was kind of a red herring and I don’t really know what we were supposed to think about what was going on there because they keep, they keep saying, you’re not our mother. You’re not, our mother proved that you are like, they want to sh they want her to, uh, show them her birthmark, um, that she has on her face, but it’s under her bandages and she refuses to do that.

They look at a photograph. Or no, no. A video online that she had posted online and they pause on a closeup of her face and her eyes and the picture are Brown, and then they go examine her eyes. And they’re blue and she just says, well, it’s contacts. I don’t know. I mean, I, okay. 

Todd: I guess I kind of know what color eyes, your mom, one thing, you know, unless you were so young, you didn’t realize she wore contacts all the time.

And then 

Craig: to explain the picture, they say who’s that, and she’s kind of evasive about it. That was one of the things I didn’t really understand the whole time. I mean, it seemed like they were asking her questions. They were asking to prove things that would really not be all that difficult to answer or to prove.

And she’s really evasive. So I thought. Maybe there is something going on with her, like about the picture they say, who is this woman? And she, she won’t say anything at first. And then they’re like, who is it? And she says, a friend. We always dress just to like, what? I mean, 

Todd: it seemed like really convenient things.

And then, um, when they do finally get mom in a compromising situation and tire up to the bed, Uh, which they do, which is where the movie really starts to 

Craig: get really kind of dark. And I was kind of crawling in my skin a little bit from that point on. Yeah. 

Todd: There’s all kinds of, well, we can go into that, but in any way they tire up.

And, uh, then I think it’s it’s Lucas who points out the beauty Mark and Les goes and wipes it away. Basically. It’s 

Craig: makeup it’s it’s just painted 

Todd: on. And of course that’s to that. Oh, this proves you’re not my mom. She’s like, no, during the surgery, they had to remove it. 

Craig: And we’ve been already given the suggestion that one or both of the boys plays with fire, and that plays into the ending of the film also.

So maybe whatever the end, again, playing into the end of the film, the mother says to Elias it, wasn’t your fault. Uh, it wasn’t your fault that he died. So I wonder. If maybe one or both of the boys was playing with fire and there was a fire and that is the cause of her injuries. And that would kind of make sense if she had extensive burns on her face, that they would kind of have to reconstruct and it would be consistent with the bandages that she was wearing.

And it would make sense that if she had a birthmark or a mole on her face, if she had been badly burned, that’s likely something that they would just remove. So that’s 

Todd: possible except there’s that shot that pans across the wall. Where there are those two bulletin boards and it looks like, uh, there’s some photos of her marked up for the surgery.

That’s right. So it looks more, very much like a nip and tuck type kind of markings on there. You’re right. I had forgotten about that. I wondered if it wasn’t the opening sequence that was showing us up sort of up to the point that Lucas had died, uh, whether it was. Entering that tunnel. Yeah. Or whether it was floating, drowned, 

Craig: drowning.

Right. In the beginning. Um, the two boys are just playing and they’re kinda just playing in the area around the house and there’s a Lake and there’s like this, I don’t know. It looked like a mineshaft or something. It wasn’t a cave. It was manmade. Lucas walks in first and is just engulfed in black. And then Elian kind of stands back and calls his name several times for following him in.

And then we cut away from that. And then we cut to a scene on a Lake where Aelius is floating on some kind of raft or float on his belly. Um, and he keeps calling out Lucas’s name and you see some kind of rumbling under the water, but the boy never surfaces. And then it cuts into the beginning of the film when they’re together and they’re going home.

So maybe, maybe he a guide accidentally in their adventure 

Todd: it’s possible. And then perhaps, uh, this moment where the mother is sort of going through this rebirth, I guess. My theory. My theory is okay, the boy died. It caused a rift in the separation, in the family, the guy, whoever he was, the man didn’t want anything to do with it.

And so he took off mother, got super angry, tore up all their wedding photos took everything else. It’s just me and the boy and the boy now, except the boy is insisting that his brother is still alive. Uh, so she’s sort of dealing with this by playing along with it, thinking it’s going to go away and then.

I don’t think maybe, maybe as a part of a feeling of rebirth or maybe it’s just something she’s always wanted to do. She has the plastic surgery done, which means that she has to leave for a little while. And I guess she can just leave the boy at home alone. And then when she comes back, she sort of made this decision.

Now that I’m back, I’m not going to play along anymore. Which is an unfortunate decision for her to make at that particular time when she’s all bandaged up. Cause that leads Lucas to think that she is refusing to I’m sorry, leads, ileus to believe, to think that she’s refusing to serve Lucas. Or she doesn’t know about Lucas, so she’s not their mother and she’s been replaced.

Right. You know what I’m saying? That was sort of that sort of the running theory I kind of have, I have 

Craig: a feeling you’re probably onto something there that, that seems the most reasonable explanation I can think, 

Todd: but there’s a lot of room for her. Yeah. 

Craig: Yeah, it’s ambiguous. I mean, I, they’re not just gonna hand you the answer on a silver platter at the end.

You’re going to be left with questions. There’s no question about that. 

Todd: Where there they’ve tied mom up in bed. We’re probably the most, well, clearly the most unsettling in the film and that’s kind of where the film was going and you didn’t expect it to go there. 

Craig: I. No, I didn’t really expect it to go there.

She’s medicated. So she, in first I was like, how was this one boy going to tie up his mom in the night? But she takes a pill right before she goes to sleep. So I guess we’re led to believe that she’s taking sedatives or whatever. Um, and they tied her up to the bed. And I wasn’t expecting it to go where it went like that part.

I mean, it’s, it’s unsettling to have an adult of parents, you know, tied up to the bed by their child. But at that point I was still thinking that may be their suspicions of her religious summit. I thought maybe that they were going to get her to confess that something else was going on, especially since she was being so elusive.

But then as they, you know, as they go about trying to get her to confess, it becomes. I don’t know, I mean, becomes disturbing it’s disturbing and because it becomes violent and, 

Todd: and, and you never would imagined this, these kids would. Would be that kind of kid. Yeah, 

Craig: I guess. I mean, there’s little suggestions.

I mean, you folks spoilers, uh, we’ve already, we’ve already done it, but uh, more specifically, you know, one of the, one of the things that they do to try to torture, I guess that’s the only word you can use, torture her into confessing, who she is and where their mother is, is, uh, they. Take a magnifying glass and magnified the sunlight and burn her skin.

Her face know, like you’d burn an ant. Right. And we had seen one of the boys doing that earlier in the film with a, some sort of bug with a foreshadow. So, yeah. So I guess there was some suggestion that they might be capable of something, but I don’t think that I ever expected them. To turn that violent towards the mother.

I thought they would chicken out. I, I thought maybe the mother would end up being sinister. And so then it would feel justified that they were doing the things that they were doing, but really. It’s just their mom and, uh, the, the boy Aelius apparently is just really troubled. 

Todd: There’s a lot of tension in there too, where you see the interplay, whether it’s his other, another part of his psyche or it’s, you know, a ghost or whatever.

You see the interplay between Lucas and ileus. You see ileus sort of continue to surface up to this level of sanity, almost like, Oh my gosh, what am I doing? Oh, she, of course, she’s our mom tears coming to us eyes at points. And then Lucas sort of is like, no, trust me. 

Craig: Right. And in those moments, in those moments, when, uh, Eliya starts to show some emotion, show some remorse, Lucas isn’t there.

Like every once in a while, Lucas will just not be present and an alias will kind of call for him and get no response. And that’s when alias will kind of start to show a little bit more sympathy, a little bit more warmth. He starts to believe his mother. And then right at the moment where. You think maybe he’s going to turn to her and, and things are going to be okay then Lucas shows back up.

No, she’s just tricking us. It’s it’s it’s spooky. I mean, it could all, I, I, I guess I think that whatever accident, this, that happened caused a psychotic break in alias and he is not. You know, he’s messed up. Yeah. 

Todd: And her refusing to acknowledge Lucas is what sort of broke was that last straw that broke him, that sort of last tenuous bit to sanity causing him to himself to question Lucas’s continued existence as sort of invisible playmate, you know, dead brother.

He had a mask of his own too. Right. You know, and I thought that was interesting at the point where the mother is unmasked. That’s when, you know, they tie her up and Lucas puts on his own mask, uh, as he’s approaching her. Well, I wonder what, you know, it happens at that scene. It happens early in the very beginning of the film, when we see the two of them playing in those green masks.

And then it happens at the very end when he, you know, when basically the mother, we think she’s escaped, she falls hits her head. Ends up tied up in the basement, uh, in the, on the floor, in the living room. And he just starts lighting everything on fire. He circling her almost as kind of a 

Craig: ritualistic kind of thing.

Got candles set up all around her. She’s I think he’s got her super glued to the floor. Is that earlier in the movie, they had super glued her mouth together, which was a really, really unsettling. Scene. And then the visual 

Todd: fortress scene where they’re cutting it back open to very slowly. Oh my own. You’re just like, you know, they’re going to cut her, you know, they’re going to pet her and then they do, Oh, I honestly I’ve seen a lot of these sort of torture films, films with torture in them.

I don’t think I’d ever seen those particular methods. 

Craig: And you know, it reminded me. I, if you have seen this movie, I’ll be so impressed. There was a bad movie from the eighties called Witchery, starring David Hasselhoff and Linda Blair. I have 

Todd: not. 

Craig: Oh, interesting is probably the 

Todd: word. I have a thing for Linda Blair, the 

Craig: older, this exercise, this is her as an adult.

And, uh, it’s it’s about, uh, which, and who lives in this, uh, castle or something. I don’t know. But anyway, people end up there and, uh, this which kind of dispatches them and in one scene, The scene that was seared into my brain. When I saw it, when I was a little kid, was one of the women, um, gets bound and hung upside down in the chimney and the witch sews her lips together.

And you, you know, you see it, it’s a practical effect. It’s a slow thing where you see it all happening. And this reminded me very much of that. And it made me really uncomfortable. I don’t know if it was because of my memory of that or just because it’s a really uncomfortable image, but you know, you and I even.

You and I together have watched some pretty graphic stuff. I mean, we just watched saw a couple of weeks ago and this evoked responses for me that are uncommon for me, we were both 

Todd: squirming quite a bit here score. 

Craig: I think on more than one occasion, I had an audible reaction. I mean, it was, it was really unsettling, 

Todd: you know, the mouth to anytime.

Nothing bad usually ever happens to your mouth. And when it does, it hurts so bad. You bite your tongue, you bite your lip and you’re reminded of it. You bang your tooth against something. I mean, that’s pain. And of course everybody’s got that. Not everybody, but a lot of people have that fear of the dentist.

You know, it’s just so ingrained in our 

Craig: culture. Just you talking about it’s given me the willies, 

Todd: all they’re doing is stuffed to her mouth and they’re jamming it open and doing something in there with the flaw. I wouldn’t know what they were doing. I didn’t want to know what they were doing. I might’ve turned away at that point.


Craig: sounded like they were trying to. Saw her teeth out or something. But I think that they were just like using the floss, like saw into her gums. I mean, it’s it’s and they put a dowel rod in her mouth to keep it open as they do. It’s it’s really, 

Todd: really unsettling at any time. It happens with your mouth, the blood mixes with that saliva, that seems like, you know, 15 times more blood than it actually is.

And that’s exactly what happened when she opened her mouth after they cut her off. Cut her when they were cutting her back open from them. 

Craig: And that’s really as gory as it gets. And, and yeah, honestly, the Gore is not that intense. In fact, the blood didn’t even really look like blood to me. I mean, I know it was intended to be blood, but it wasn’t of that bright red color that you would expect.

It was more of a muted kind of Brown. I don’t know if that was intentional or what, but, um, it didn’t. Change the effect. Uh, it was still really disturbing to see, even though we’ve seen far more graphic, I’m sure. For whatever reason, this was just really 

Todd: troubling. I mean, You can do that. I mean, in a film like this, I think it also sort of takes you off guard.

One thing that I really like about it was the melancholy style that it just kept throughout. Absolutely. And it had beautiful 

Craig: wide shots. Yeah. Yes it did. And, and they, they would, uh, it was, it was spooky because there would be these wide shots and they would linger on them for a really long time, too long, 

Todd: just a little too long on 

Craig: each one you mentioned before.

For the mother standing in front of, uh, her mirror and she’s got all of her mask on and she’s wearing this gossamer gown and the wind is kind of blowing at her feet. And we just freeze on this moment for what had to have been a minute or two. I don’t know. I mean, it seemed like a long time and it was, I mean, it was effective.

It was, it was unsettling. 

Todd: And the movie is full of those shots. Just a little too long. I’m very static camera. I really like that. Actually. I get really tired of the shaky cam all the time. They were a couple moments in there and it was always, it was toward the end when there’s a little bit of unstability instability in the camera.

And at times it did seem to mirror what I interpreted as a little bit of instability in the boy. I’d have to go back and watch it. I don’t know that for sure. But it was really well done. It was very subtle. 

Craig: Yeah. I thought the cinematography was really artful, you know, I don’t know. When I go talk to other people about this movie?

I don’t know. I don’t know if I can say I liked it, but I think that it was, you know, it was, it was artfully done and it was definitely unsettling, but yeah, like you said, you know, the camera work was nice. The pictures were beautiful. The color was really effective. Um, so on that front, I think it was a well-made film.

Todd: Mm Oh yeah. Undoubtedly, um, and use a lot of natural light, you know, very much so we’re, we’re seeing. The sun kind of go down and things are getting dim in the house and it’s just is what it is. Uh, there aren’t lamps filling in spaces and filling in the shadows. It’s just a, it’s just like your house would be at night, maybe even darker than your house would be.

Man. If I had that many windows in my 

Craig: house, I’d never turned on a light. Right. I mean, and that’s the thing. They do a lot of cool stuff with backlighting, you know, the, the interior of the houses is really dark, but they have these. Big windows. Uh, and so there’s artificial light coming from behind. So you kind of get people in silhouette and it’s also really cool looking because, uh, the, the windows are blinded.

So you’ve got kind of this striped background that then the, the silhouettes move around in front of, uh it’s it’s neat. I thought it was, it was cool. Look 

Todd: at one thing missing from it that you find in a lot of horror, uh, any real element of comedy. No, I don’t think no dark humor, nothing in this. And that’s really pretty uncommon.

It is even your most horror graphic, horror films, brutal horror films. Generally have these moments of dark comedy. Or even if you’re sick and twisted enough, you’re going to laugh a little bit. This movie seemed utterly devoid of that. It did, 

Craig: it seemed to be taking itself really seriously. And sometimes when that happens, it can come off as pretentious.

I didn’t really think this came off as pretentious. I felt like they had a purpose and they were establishing a tone and they. They wrote it throughout. It came off as very 

Todd: slice of life in that regard, the closest thing to comedy we had, and it wasn’t, the red cross comes to the door when she’s tied up.

And all the only thing going through my mind after they left without ever discovering her, uh, was boy, even the red cross. Come and see this woman, the literal red cross coming to her door. This woman still had no hope 

Craig: at that point. It had already turned so dark that, uh, you know, they had the mother tied up in the bed.

They had already been doing things to her. And then these red cross people show up. I was convinced they were going to kill these people. I thought that they, you know, they had fashioned weapons earlier on, um, I thought, you know, these red cross people are gonna find the mother and these boys are going to dispatch them.

It didn’t happen, not at all. Um, but, uh, yeah, I it’s, it’s, it’s a serious, uh, movie it’s more dramatic than anything. And I think that that’s part of where I don’t know that I would classify it as typical horror at all, but I think what becomes so horrifying at the end is you kind of come to the realization.

That this is just a human drama, you know, there, it, I’m not convinced that there’s anything supernatural going on. I’m convinced that this is a psychological thing that this boy has snapped as a result of, of tragedy. So there’s nothing, you know, you can’t blame it on the ghost. You can’t blame it on this, the haunted house.

These are real people, you know, interacting with one another in a really upsetting 

Todd: way. I a hundred percent agree with you. I don’t think there was anything supernatural going on. In fact, this movie. If you were to find its closest cousin. I would say, have you ever seen Roman Polanski’s repulsion? I haven’t.

You need to, it’s great. It sort of seems like it should be a horror movie. It’s about a woman, uh, who sort of by herself, uh, in, in a European apartment and is a little bit threatened by people and things like that. And just slowly starts to come on hinge and you’re never quite sure what’s real and what’s not, and you’re never quite sure if she is coming on hinged or if people are actually threatening her and she’s really in danger.

That was exactly the same sort of feeling I got after we were done with this film and me too, the ending, the very ending shot thoughts on that, 

Craig: you know, sadly, it’s one of those endings, you know, we watched, uh, the woman in black, um, recently, and it’s reminiscent of that ending because you kind of have.

Death, uh, when it comes right down to it, folks, they kill the mom. Um, they, they are not convinced that she is who she says she is and they kill her. And, uh, the last scene we returned to the cornfield where we started. We were kind of looking from the boy’s perspective. We’re kind of looking through their eyes and they’re walking to this clearing in the corn.

And through this clearing comes walking their mother and they walk up to her. They turn around and face camera almost as though they are posing for a family portrait and. Again, it’s one of those shots that lingers for a long time, they just stand there and look at you and smile for a good minute or so, and then cut to black.

And that’s it. Um, sadly I think that I was disappointed in the ending with the woman in black, but I think that the you’re supposed to walk away thinking, Oh, well, at least they’re all together. I don’t, I don’t know that I got that sense. I think I got the sense here that alias is a survivor, but is now projecting.

Both his brother and his mother. And I don’t know how, you know, he’s a kid alone in a court, you know what what’s going to happen to this poor kid? I don’t know. I mean, what did you 

Todd: think early possible? I bet I’ve accoladed between that and the fact that they were all ghosts and stuff, but again, that last shot lingered way too long.

The pose was super strange. It was just as unsettling as the rest of the movie has been. Not that sort of happy ending, which I’ve always hated anyway, that I’m leaning more towards what you said, uh, that he is now posing happily with his family. Just like in that picture. 

Craig: And it’s sad. 

Todd: It’s sad, super sad that this is the one, the way that this kid now finally can find some closure and enjoy life is, is if his mother is also dead a lot with his brother right now, everything’s in his head.

Um, what’s going to happen to him who knows, you know, and are they gonna, are they gonna find him, you know, do they know are they can to suspect that he was killed in the fire? It’s it’s, it’s messed up about halfway through this film. I thought, I think I’m going to be really disappointed in this. It moved along so slowly and I seemed, I felt like I had sort of figured it out.

Yeah. And I was trying to unravel a puzzle that I just was not there. And once that sort of hit me that there was no puzzle and things. In that last half hour got crazy. I really liked the movie. Yeah. 

Craig: I don’t know that I was ever afraid that I was going to be disappointed because I could tell that it was a well-crafted film.

So I knew, well, I suspected that leaving it. I would at least be able to say that I appreciate it for what it was and that’s kind of where I still stand on it now. I don’t know. I don’t know if I can say that I liked it. I don’t know if it’s something that I would even be invested enough to watch again, to see if I could figure more stuff out.

I don’t know. I do however, appreciate what they were trying to do. And I think that they were successful in what they were trying to do, but. If you are somebody who is troubled by loose ends, um, and ambiguous plot and questions, uh, you’re going to be frustrated by this movie. 

Todd: Yeah, it’s a 90 minute movie that sort of feels like two and a half 

Craig: hours.

It feels a little longer. I, you know, I don’t know the pacing was all right. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the time, but it is just these three actors for, you know, a good hour and a half plus, and really. Not a lot happens. Yes. 

Todd: So yeah. Did a great job acting though. Yeah, they did really carried them to carry the movie.

That was 

Craig: impressive. The boys, I thought in the beginning were very innocent. You didn’t really have any kind of, well, and you talked about watching the trailer. The trailer is really misleading. Totally not the movie you’re going to snow. And the trailer really plays on the early part of the movie where the mother seems really sinister and they even suggest things in the trailer that are not true in the 

Todd: movie.

Yeah. There’s some creative editing there where they actually edit a scene together that doesn’t exist quite that way. Right, 

Craig: right. Um, and, and it, it, it ends up not being about that at all. So I feel like it’s a great trailer. Cause it it’s, it’s. Uh, an unsettling thing. That’s gonna make you wanna watch the movie, but you’re getting into a different movie and those boys in the beginning, they, you know, they seem just like very normal boys.

And you, I think from the beginning, You just automatically are on their side. And then towards the middle, you start to question that and the boys play it really well. You know, it’s not abrupt shifts, it’s not, you know, an, uh, a crazy change in character where all of a sudden they go crazy. It feels very natural.

And, and maybe that’s part of what makes it so spooky. Yeah. 

Todd: Spooky not scary. Yes. I agree. Well, thank you, Craig. Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with a friend. Subscribe to us like us on Facebook. We will see you again next week with two guys and a chainsaw until then.

I’m Todd and I’m Craig.

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