Goodnight Mommy, the Matt Sobel-directed psychological thriller starring Naomi Watts, recently found its way to Amazon Prime Video, greeted with mediocre-at-best fanfare and a pair of Rotten Tomatoes aggregations (38 percent for critics and 33 percent for audiences) that do it even less justice. We Got This Covered gave the film 3/5 stars.
Per the film’s early reviews, much of the criticism was leveraged towards how needless it was; Goodnight Mommy was based on the 2014 Austrian film of the same name, and most everyone agrees that the original was a work of excellence that was in no need of an American remake.
And it seems as though Naomi Watts herself, who plays the mother in Sobel’s remake, was once part of that camp. In an interview with IndieWire, Watts revealed that her initial fascination with the remake’s script prompted her to watch the original Austrian feature, which raised the question of whether anyone should even attempt a remake.
“I got first drawn in by the script and then had a great conversation with Matt. I was struck by his high level of intelligence, and that led me to watching the film, which was very well-executed, and again, I struggled with making the decision of, should this be remade at all?”
She would later go on to reveal, however, that Sobel’s approach to the more psychological and atmospheric reimagining of the remake’s ethos is what ultimately won her over.
:But after having that first initial conversation with him, I really understood that he had a new take on it. I wasn’t going to be playing just a really black and white villain. She wasn’t just a monster, she was someone who was haunted by her own demons and troubled, and also… escalating the psychological thriller aspect of it.”
Indeed, it seems as though Sobel sanded off the more tangible edges of the original, a much gorier film, to take a brand new approach to prey on the fears of family trauma and broken trust.
The film stars Naomi Watts as a mother to two young boys named Elias and Lucas, played by Cameron and Nicholas Crovetti, respectively. When the two boys arrive at their mother’s house, they find her with her face covered in bandages, which she dismisses as a result of recent plastic surgery. As their mother’s behavior becomes more and more suspicious and out-of-character, the boys begin to consider the dreadful thought that this woman isn’t their real mother.
Goodnight Mommy is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.