Pick of the week: “Goodnight Mommy“ (Amazon Prime) — My full review is here. Creepy twin boys. A mysteriously bandaged mother. A remote country house. These are the elements for a terrifically creepy Austrian horror film, which deliberately plays against genre conventions by working without creepy music, in broad daylight. Along with the descent into a nasty third act, the film never loses sight of its emotional underpinnings, its exploration into how family bonds can warp under stress.
“Goodnight Mommy” opens Friday at Sundance Cinemas. R, 1:39, three and a half stars.
The first time you watch “Goodnight Mommy,” you may spend the last half-hour watching the movie through your fingers. And then you’ll immediately want to watch it again.
Sundance Cinemas will extend its fall Screening Room Calendar of independent, foreign and documentary films into mid-November, starting off with one of the most talked-about horror movies of 2015.
The current calendar finishes up with “Testament of Youth” opening this Friday. (And I should mention that I’m doing hosting a post-show talk after the 7 p.m. show on Tuesday — come by and chat!) Then the next one kicks in on Oct. 9, and it’s the Austrian horror film “Goodnight Mommy,” about a violent war of wills between a mother covered in bandages and her two young sons, who don’t believe she’s really their mother.
Here’s the remainder of the screening room calendar:
Oct. 16: “Meet the Patels” — In this affable personal documentary, a first-generation Indian-American man tries to find the woman of his dreams while still keeping his parents happy.
Oct. 23: “The Amazing Nina Simone” — The second documentary of 2015 about the enigmatic and tumultous jazz/soul singer (after “What Happened Miss Simone?“) looks at Simone’s life and legacy, with extensive interviews with friends and associates.
Oct. 30: “Jimmy’s Hall” — The great director Ken Loach makes another film about Ireland’s past, this time set in a 1921 dance hall that becomes a flashpoint of controversy from both local politicians and the Catholic Church.
Nov. 6: “Coming Home” — A Chinese man returns home after years in a forced labor camp, only to find his wife no longer remembers him in the latest from director Zhang Yimou (“Raise The Red Lantern”).
Nov. 13: “Labyrinth of Lies” — In 1960s Germany, a young prosecutor stirs the buried guilt of the nation when he prosecutes a former Auschwitz guard turned schoolteacher.