THE EYES OF MY MOTHER is a film that has stayed with me since the first time I watched it about 8 months ago. It's a chilling account of how some deal with loss and loneliness and the lengths they will go to never have to say goodbye. The film, directed by Nicolas Pesce, is beautifully shot in black and white and has one of the best performances I've seen in years from up-and-coming actress Kika Magalhaes. THE EYES OF MY MOTHER is a tour-de-force that will leave viewers disturbed and terrified by the actions that humans are capable of.
Before I delve into the film, I want to give praise to cinematographer Zach Kuperstein for his masterful work in bringing to life such a visually breathtaking film. I've always been a fan of contrast in color, it's something that I try to do as often as possible in my own art work, so I loved the use of black vs. white along with the soft shades of grey throughout the film. Those gray tones gave me a false sense of security as they always seemed to be more prevalent during times of extreme violence. The pacing of the film was superb and the only time I felt rushed was towards the end. The film doesn't have a long runtime, 76 minutes to be exact, but I feel as though it would have benefited to have an additional 15 minutes or so tacked on so as to flesh out the last act of the movie.
You know horror is done right when it truly makes you feel something, even if that feeling is disgust. THE EYES OF MY MOTHER is a film that pushes you to a place of discomfort without the use of jump scares. The film follows the life of Francisca after she has witnessed a brutal act towards her mother. As the film progresses from that moment, you can already tell that there is something completely unhinged with Francisca. She has very little to no emotions with what she has just witnessed and this lack of empathy is something that carries throughout the whole movie. When the film ended, it made me question the character's upbringing and how much of an influence her parents had on her growing up. Was she a product of her parent's influence, something that the viewer wasn't privy to during the film, or was she always meant to be someone who hurt and destroyed those around her? Even though a part of me yearned to have those questions answered, I think not having it solidified was a smart move on the directors part as it forced the viewer to come up with their own interpretation of how Francisca ended up being the person that she is.
As I mentioned the film is very uncomfortable to watch and at times I felt like I was wrongly peeking into a family's life and seeing their secrets spilled forth. Upon re-watching the film, I still believe that it had a very voyeuristic nature to it. Though the gore wasn't over the top like a lot of other films in this genre, it was enough to make me squeamish and want to turn away from the screen. Even through all of this, the uncomfortable feelings and gore, it wasn't enough to make me stop watching as I found myself, once again, completely glued to the screen.
With the Blu-ray release of the film, I had the chance to check out some of the special features including an interview with director Nicolas Pesce. Along with the interview there are some fantastic behind-the-scenes pictures and a theatrical trailer that you can show friends and family to get them ready for what they are about to watch. Though the trailer doesn't do justice for the film, it at least is enough to give you a sense of what you are about to experience. As for the quality of the Blu-ray, it's absolutely fantastic and does a great job of bringing the story to life with the crisp black and white imagery showcasing the beautiful cinematography.
Overall, the best way I can describe Nicolas Pesce's THE EYES OF MY MOTHER is that it's the most uncomfortable and disturbing, yet visually striking film I have seen in years. For a debut film, Pesce hit a grand slam and I'm excited to see what he has in store for us in the future. Do yourself a favor and check this film out now that it's available on Blu-ray and DVD, it'll affect you in a way you didn't think was possible.
THE EYES OF MY MOTHER is now available on Blu-ray and DVD