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Unique genre picture takes a rural creeper premise and executes it in an intellectualized, austere fashion
THE EYES OF MY MOTHER (Nicolas Pesce). 76 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (December 16). See listing. Rating: NNNN
There are plenty of horror movies set in old farmhouses. They’re an ideal location, really: isolated, overlooked, usually with a cavernous barn nearby capable of muffling even the loudest scream.
Picture The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, or even Motel Hell – those films are set in places where bad people fall upon unsuspecting visitors over and over again, undisturbed and unstopped.
The Eyes Of My Mother is a little different.
Nicolas Pesce’s feature debut – produced by filmmakers Antonio Campos (Christine), Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene) and Josh Mond (James White) – takes a rural horror story and executes it in an intellectualized, austere fashion. You can appreciate exactly how well-made it is even as the dread piles on top of you like a blanket.
As a little girl, Francisca (Olivia Bond) is witness to a series of horrible, bloody events a decade or so later, she’s grown up to be a deeply disturbed young woman (Kika Magalhaes) who processes her inexpressible desires by inflicting bloody horrors on others.
The story may not be particularly original, but the execution is immersive and even seductive, like the best nightmares. Pesce shoots it all in black and white, using long takes and deliberate camera movements to create disquieting tableaux that seem to close in on us as we watch.