Shot in eerie, evocative black and white, The Eyes of My Mother feels like a feminist twist on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, in which the killer discovers that the "final girl" is even more of a monster than he is. There's a certain surreal quality to it all, even if there aren't any overtly surreal elements. Pesce dispenses with filmmaking basics like establishing shots to set-up locations, and cuts away from scenes at moments that feel intuitively wrong, often showing us the aftermath of important actions rather than the actions themselves.
|A scene from THE EYES OF MY MOTHER, a Magnet release.|
Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.
You'll find no jump scares here, no things that go "bump" in the night. The Eyes of My Mother is a haunting slow-burn of a film, one that eats its way under the skin with sadistic precision. Everything about it just feels off somehow, and Pesce's insistence on showing the prelude and the aftermath of the violence rather than the violence itself gives us the feeling that we're bearing witness to something we're not supposed to see. Each shot is framed like a photograph, a snapshot into the mind of someone who is deeply disturbed, but feels as if their life is completely normal. Yet underneath its otherworldly beauty is something sick and twisted, a shocking examination of madness that is unlike anything we've seen before.
GRADE - ★★★½ (out of four)
THE EYES OF MY MOTHER | Directed by Nicholas Pesce | Stars Kika Magalhaes, Diana Agostini, Paul Nazak, Will Brill | Not Rated | In Portuguese w/English subtitles | Opens Friday, December 2, in select cities.