In the heat of the summer. An isolated house in the country between forests and cornfields. Two ten-year-old twin boys wait for their mother. When she returns home in bandages after aesthetic surgery, nothing is as before. The boys begin to doubt that the woman really is their mother and try to discover the truth. At any cost. After its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala's debut fiction feature went on to become an international success, winning 27 prizes, and becoming a big box office hit in the USA.
Austria 2014 | 99 min | German | 35mm | 1:2.39
Script & directing: Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala | Camera: Martin Gschlacht | Sound: Klaus Kellermann | Art directors: Hannes Salat und Hubert Klausner | Costumes: Tanja Hausner | Casting: Eva Roth | Makeup: Roman Braunhofer and Martha Ruess | Editor: Michael Palm | Music: Compositions by Olga Neuwirth | Production manager: Louis Oellerer | Producer: Ulrich Seidl | Cast: Susanne Wuest, Lukas and Elias Schwarz, Hans Escher, Elfriede Schatz, Karl Purker, Georg Deliovsky, Christian Steindl, Christian Schatz, Erwin Schmalzbauer
With support from: ORF (Film/Fernsehabkommen), Austrian Film Institute und Wiener Filmfonds | Funding from: Niederösterreich Kultur und Land
- Director's statement
"A horror movie? An author film? We want our movie Goodnight Mommy to be both. We love physical cinema. Movies that overpower you physically. At the same time, we also want to ask questions that we experience as existential. Questions dealing with life's realities, questions about education and power dynamics in the family and above all about the monstrous in people. We wanted to make a film that says something about our life and at the same time is nerve-racking."
- Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
Veronika Franz, born 1965 in Vienna, studied German and Philosophy. Originally a film journalist for the Viennese daily newspaper Kurier, she has accompanied Ulrich Seidl's work as an artistic assistant since 1997. With him she has written the screenplays for all his films, including "Dog Days" (2001), "Import Export" (2007) and the "PARADISE Trilogy" (2012/2013) and "Wicked Games" (in production). In 2003 she also founded the Ulrich Seidl Filmproduction with him.
The documentary "Kern" (2012, co-directed with Severin Fiala) was her debut. This was followed by the first feature film, also with Fiala "Goodnight Mommy" (2014), which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, won several awards and was sent as an Austrian contribution to Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film. A US-Remake of the film is in the making, produced by the production company Animal Kingdom ("It Follows", "It comes at Night"). "The Lodge", the first English-language feature film directed by the duo, was produced by Hammerfilm and Film Nation ("The Arrival") and features US stars Riley Keough and Jaeden Lieberher. It celebrated his world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2019.
Severin Fiala, born in 1985 in Horn, studied at the Vienna Film Academy. He works for the Red Cross and had his first success with the award-winning short film "Elefantenhaut" (2009, co-directed with Ulrike Putzer).
His first collaboration with Veronika Franz was the internationally acclaimed documentary "Kern" (premiered at the Locarno Film Festival). The first joint feature film "Ich seh Ich seh" ("Goodnight Mommy", 2014), which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, won several awards and was sent as an Austrian contribution to Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film. An american remake of the film is being produced by the production company Animal Kingdom ("It Follows", "It comes at Night"). "The Lodge", the duo's first English-language feature film, was produced by Hammerfilm and Film Nation ("The Arrival") and features US stars Riley Keough and Jaeden Lieberher. It celebrated his world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2019.
"An outstanding debut feature. The two directors have succeeded in creating a chamber play of psycho-terror that is as oppressive as it is enthralling, and that exhibits precision and intelligence and also wholeheartedly embraces its genre. The result is in the best sense harrowing."
Andrey Arnold, Die Presse
"Like every good horror film, Goodnight Mommy touches on our primal fears. Fantastic!"
Katja Nicodemus, Die Zeit
"Goodnight Mommy gets under your skin early and stays there long after the credits. It is an involving nightmare you won't soon forget."
Pierce Conran, Twitch
"It’s satisfying to make a discovery like the creepy Austrian art-film shocker Goodnight Mommy."
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"It has cult potential stamped all over it."
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
"Franz and Fiala play not only a sarcastic (and increasingly bloody) game with the spectator, but also one that develops weight in terms of film theory and media philosophy – without thereby diminishing the raw pleasure of the fear. An astonishing accomplishment."
Stefan Grissemann, Profil
"This shocking auteur horror film out of Austria is best seen with a clear head—and an empty stomach… If Georges Franju, Michael Haneke and Takashi Miike co-directed a horror movie (god help us!), this might well be it."
Ryan Lattanzio, Indiewire
- Awards | Festivals
Nominated as Austrian candidate for the Foreign-language Oscar, 2016
"Fangoria Chainsaw Award: Best Foreign Language Film", 2016
"Best Feature", Austrian Film Prize, 2016
"Best Director", Austrian Film Prize, 2016
"Best Camerawork: Martin Gschlacht", Austrian Film Prize, 2016
"Best Art Design: Hubert Klausner, Hannes Salat", Austrian Film Prize, 2016
"Best Makeup: Roman Braunhofer, Martha Ruess", Austrian Film Prize, 2016
"Der Papierene Gustl/Best Austrian Film 2015", Association of Austrian Film Critics, 2015
"Best Camerawork: Martin Gschlacht," Austrian Film Prize, 2015
"Meliès d’Or / Best Feature Length Film Europe", Trieste, 2015
"Audience Award", New Horizons Film Festival, Wroclaw (Breslau), 2015
"Best Feature", Vienna Film Prize, 2015
"Best Foreign Language Film", St Louis Film Critics Association, 2015
"Best Foreign Film/Sierra Award", Las Vegas Film Critics Society, USA, 2015
"Top 5 Foreign Language Films", National Board of Review, USA, 2015
"Grand Diagonale Prize/Best Feature", 2015
"Thomas Pluch Special Jury Prize", Diagonale 2015
"Best Screenplay", Fantaspoa, Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantástico de Porto Alegre, 2015
"Best Camera: Cameraman Martin Gschlacht", Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Films BAFICI, 2015
"Silver Raven/Jury Prize", 33rd Brussels International Fantastic Festival, 2015
"SYFY Jury Prize", 22nd Festival International du Film Fantastique Gérardmer, 2015
"The Région Lorraine Student Prize", 22nd Festival International du Film Fantastique Gérardmer, 2015
"Best Feature Film", Ljubljana Film Festival, 2014
"Fipresci Prize/International Competition", Thessaloniki International Film Fest, 2014
"Méliès d’Argent/Best Feature Length Film", Sitges International Fantastic Film Fest
"Critics' Special Mention", Sitges International Fantastic Film Fest, 2014
"Special Mention", Belgrade Fest
"Audience Award, Feature", Lyon, Hallucinations Collectives
"Special Mention in the European Debut Category", Łódź
World premiere: 71st Venice International Film Festival (Orizzonti)
39th Toronto IFF | 47th International Fantastic FF of Catalonia Sitges | Fantastic Fest/Austin, Slash FF Wien | Das Filmfest Prag | 12th FF Zagreb | 48. Hofer Filmtage | 55th IFF Thessaloniki | 25th IFF Stockholm | AVI Fest Los Angeles | 11th European FF Sevilla | 28° “Cineuropa” Festival de Cinema de Compostela Santiago de Compostela | 28. IF Braunschweig | 25th IFF “LIFFe” Ljubljana | 18th Black Nights FF Tallinn | Premiers Plans Anger | Palm Springs IFF | 50th Solothurner Filmtage | Tromsö IF | Festival international du film fantastique de Gérardmer | IFF Rotterdam | 43. IFF FEST Belgrad | 5th Discovery Zone Luxembourg City FF | 8th „2morrow Zavtra“ IFF Moskau | XII Muestra Syfy de Cine Fantástico Madrid | 44th New Directors New Films New York | Diagonale Graz | 20th IFF „Kino pavasaris“ Vilnius | 33rd Brussels International Fantastic FF | 39th IFF Hong Kong | 7th CPH:PIX – FF Copenhagen | Golden Horse Fantastic FF Taipei | Night Visions International FF Helsinki | 17° Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente (BAFICI) Buenos Aires | 18th FF Skopje | 13th Cyprus Film Days IFF Nicosia | Limassol | 4th Riviera Maya FF Playa del Carmen | Tulum, Cancún, Puerto Morelos, 12th IndieLisboa – International Independent FF Lisbon | 58th IFF San Francisco | 3rd Stanley FF Estes Park | Montclair FF | 21° Festival de Cine Fantástico – FANT Bilbao | 41th IFF Seattle | XI FANTASPOA – Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantástico Porto Alegre | 14th Transilvania IFF Cluj-Napoca | Boston Underground FF | Chicago Critics FF | 62nd FF Sydney | 5° Atlántida Film Fest – Online FF Barcelona | 23rd Art Film Fest Trencianske Teplice | Trencin | 8th Cinema City IFF Novi Sad | 50th IFF Karlovy Vary | 32nd IFF Jerusalem | 19th International FF PiFan Puchon | IndieBO – Festival de Cine Independiente/Bogotá, 47th New Zealand IFF, 15th New Horizons IFF Wroclaw, 64th IFF Melbourne | 19th Fantasia IFF/Montreal | Hallucination Collectives/Lyon, 17th FF/Sarasota, 3rd Spectre Fest/Los Angeles, MCI Festival Sao Paulo | 12th Jameson CineFest –IFF Miskolc | 4. Sehenswert – Festival deutschsprachiger Filme Budapest | 1st MONTIFFF – Montenegro International Fantastic FF | 5th Ramaskrik Fantastic FF Oppdal | 7th Celluloid Screams Horror FF Sheffield | 7 Festival International de Cine – FICCALI Cali | 15th Internationl Science Fiction Festival Trieste | 29th IFF Leeds | 23rd IFF of the Art of Cinematography – Cameraimage Bydgoszcz | 7. Heimspiel – Das Regensburger Filmfest | 8th Panorama of the European Film Cairo | 20th Forum of European Cinema – Cinergia Lodz | Utopia International Festival of Fantastic Film Tel-Aviv | 8th IFF Bengaluru | 12th FF Glasgow | European FF Hong Kong
© Ulrich Seidl Filmproduktion
A film by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala