Directors: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Writers: Veronika Franz (screenplay), Severin Fiala (screenplay)
Starring: Lukas Schwarz, Elias Schwarz, Susanne Wuest. Austria. 1h 39m
In the heat of a long summer, twin boys impatiently await the return of their mother after her cosmetic surgery. Her return doesn’t bring the happiness you’d expect from a mother returning to her 9 year old children, instead they suspect another person has taken her place and search for the truth as her reactions to them are tragically different from what they remember, who or what is really under the bandages.
The debut film by Veronika Franz, in a Haneke-esque style chilling thriller art house horror. The opening scenes of the two boys playing wild in the Austrian wilderness soon turns bitter when they go inside and are faced with the return of their masked mother, whose initial return is quite hostile. There”s little love and warmth in this beautiful home, she’s obviously been through a extensive change but her personality seems.. unhinged.
This deeply psychological and brooding movie that takes place in a ultra modern lake house, takes on similar tactics taken from a gothic or noir film. Much like Funny Games (1997), or Borgman (2013). The results of this are equally the same as any other classic, mistrust and paranoia kick in. The boys instantly view their mother as a stranger, and we, the audience wouldn’t have a clue if this is the right person, and there are several clues that she’s not human at all, these alien scenes are very unsettling, she walks into the woods alone, stripping naked and seems to morph into something, the boys witness her eating insects in her sleep and she refuses to talk to Lucas and punishes Elias trying to turn him against his brother.
A mother should look out for her sons.
The boys keep a close watch on this woman, spying little difference with her, until they can’t take it anymore, she needs to be tied up and tortured until she tells them where their real mother is.
There is an almost fairytale quality to this eerie movie. As the cerebral creepiness turns into physical violent and depraved torture we’re often returned into being oddly beautiful. The house and scenery shots are stunning, and yet time after time there is something gruesome going on inside.
For the work of a young director it’s incredible, some scenes are cut short and don’t feel “finished” but the movie skips from one scene to the next, there are amazing amounts of creativity displayed throughout and with a little bit of tightening and some control over scenes to make them less about the gore and more about the tension then some truly outstanding material will be delivered soon enough.
R – Borgman (2013), Funny Games (1997)
L – Selected Austrian Films, Mother and Son Films, In one house