Directed by Matt Sobel, Amazon Studio’s ‘Goodnight Mommy’ is a psychological horror film. The story revolves around twins Elias (Cameron Crovetti) and Lukas (Nicholas Crovetti), who come to live with their mother (Naomi Watts) at the start of the film. They notice that she has a mask on her face, which she claims is due to a recent surgery. The more time they spend at the house, the more they realize something is wrong with their mother. She imposes certain rules that don’t make sense to the twins, and they start to think that her physical appearance is different as well, concluding that there must be an imposter underneath the mask. If you have watched ‘Goodnight Mommy’ and loved it, here is a list of recommendations that might fit your taste. You can watch most of these movies like ‘Goodnight Mommy’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
8. Orphan (2009)
‘Orphan’ tells the story of Kate and John Coleman, who are devastated after the stillbirth of their third child. They decide to adopt Esther, a 9-year-old Russian girl, and introduce her to their two biological children, Max, a 5-year-old deaf girl, and Daniel, a 12-year-old boy. However, soon after, Esther begins to display violent behavior, which makes the Colemans realize that they don’t know anything about their adoptive daughter’s history. Like ‘Goodnight Mommy,’ ‘Orphan’ is an unsettling film because it takes comforting elements of life and twists them.
7. Mother! (2017)
Heavy with symbolism, ‘Mother!’ tells the story of a poet, Him (Javier Bardem), and his wife, mother (Jennifer Lawrence). They live in a house that has morphed out of a crystal. When a stranger called Man arrives, Him convinces mother to let their guest stay at their home. Soon after, Man’s wife, Woman, arrives, followed by their bickering children. There is a death, which leads to conflict, and that to lovemaking and the start of a new life. According to Lawrence, the mother in the story represents Mother Earth. As in ‘Goodnight Mommy,’ motherhood is an important motif in ‘Mother!.’ Moreover, just like in the Amazon Studios’ film, several characters are recognized by their relationships with each other and not by their names.
6. The Eyes of My Mother (2016)
In ‘The Eyes of My Mother,’ Francisca lives a happy life with her parents on a farm until a stranger named Charlie arrives and kills her mother. When Francisca father comes home, he subdues Charlie and restrains him in the barn. Later, Francisca visits Charlie and takes out his eyes and vocal cord. When Francisca’s father dies years later, presumably killed by her, she starts killing people because it brings her unparallel joy. Both ‘Goodnight Mommy’ and ‘‘The Eyes of My Mother’ deal with unacknowledged grief and its manifestation as a source of dread.
5. Mama (2013)
Five years after their father killed their mother and tried to commit murder-suicide before he was killed by a mysterious figure, young siblings Victoria and Lily are found by a rescue party organized by their father’s twin brother, Lucas. After convincing the authorities that the girls will be safe with him and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), Lucas brings them home. However, he and Annabel soon discover that they have drawn the fury of the protective spirit, whom the girls refer to as “mama.” Like ‘Goodnight Mommy,’ the horror element in ‘Mama’ is built around the relationship between children and a maternal figure.
4. The Babadook (2014)
One of the most important horror films of the 2010s, ‘The Babadook’ marks the directorial debut of filmmaker Jennifer Kent. Based on Kent’s own 2005 short film ‘Monster,’ ‘The Babadook’ tells the story of the single mother Amelia Vanek. She lost her husband in a car accident while she was in labor, and he was taking her to the hospital. When unusual things start to happen in and around her house, her son, Sam, claims that a creature known as the Babadook is responsible, she initially dismisses the idea. But things quickly escalate, and she realizes that there is indeed an evil presence in the house. ‘The Babadook’ has a mother-son relationship at the center of the narrative, just like ‘Goodnight Mommy.’
3. The Visit (2015)
One of the lesser-known horror films from M. Night Shyamalan, ‘The Visit’ was shot in the found-footage style and revolves around 15-year-old Becca and 13-year-old Tyler, siblings who come to stay with their maternal grandparents. As their mother left home 15 years ago, neither Becca nor Tyler has met their grandparents before. Like Elias and Lukas in ‘Goodnight Mommy,’ Becca and Tyler discover that they need to follow certain rules while they are at their grandparents’ home. However, soon enough, they realize that something is definitely unsettling about the behavior of their grandparents.
2. The Others (2001)
Like ‘Goodnight Mommy, ‘The Others’ deal with isolation, paranoia, and the bond between the mother and children. Set in Jersey immediately after World War II, ‘The Others’ tells the story of Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) and her two young children, Anne and Nicholas. They live in a remote country home with three people that Grace has recently hired to help around the house. The children seem to be suffering from a disease, the most prevalent symptom of it appears to be photosensitivity. When unexplainable things start to happen around her and her family, Grace concludes that “others” have moved into her home. Her fears are confirmed when her daughter claims that she has seen a group of people around the house.
1. Goodnight Mommy (2014)
The Amazon Studios’ 2022 film is actually a remake of the Austrian German-Language movie, ‘Goodnight Mommy’ or ‘Ich seh, Ich she,’ which was written and directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala. While developing the remake, Sobel and his collaborators introduced certain themes in the project absent in the original, hoping that they would allow the remake to stand on its own. Unfortunately, it loses the perpetual sense that the original exudes. It has more or less a similar plot to that of the remake, but it’s the execution that makes the two films vastly different from each other.