Day 1 – Ich Seh Ich Seh

31 Days in October, 31 Horror Films – 2015

Day 1: Ich Seh Ich Seh

I started out this year’s horror film project with the arthouse creepfest from Austria, Goodnight Mommy.

The original title, Ich Seh Ich Seh (I see I see) is far, far more appropriate for the film, which balances a slow burn of tension between an unnerving pair of twins and their bandaged mother with loftier ideas about the nature of being, appearance and what lies between the borders of man and nature. The entire subtext of the film is about seeing, being, and duality. Although the English title isn’t exactly wrong, it just isn’t subtle and this film is nothing if not subtle.

The philosophical themes are quiet enough and the elements of horror are lavish enough that you could spend all your time engaging only on a visceral level and not be impoverished. The tension on the photography and pacing makes sure there are no boring moments. That said, the themes of duality and faith are strong enough to reward repeat viewings and hours of post film conversation.

Without giving any spoilers I will say the “tricks” in this narrative are eventually not “tricks” at all and though the first half invites comparison to the Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters, in the end Goodnight Mommy has it’s own rich offerings, none of which retread ideas from other films.

I highly recommend this film, though maybe more strongly to people in the mood for art over genre… you know, people who read and have attention spans.

The trailer for the Goodnight Mommy is fantastic, though maybe not the best representation of the film’s pace.

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