When a horror film receives glowing reviews across the board from both mainstream and horror media and has ungodly amounts of praise heaped upon it I usually end up disappointed when I finally watch it. This was not the case with The Eyes Of My Mother. The film plows into your soul and buries itself there from the start until long after the end credits roll.
What struck me right off the bat was the absolutely stunning black and white photography. The stark imagery instantly grabs you and puts you into both the time and story. Both the interior and exterior shots are exquisitely framed. It’s a damn hard task to pull off a B&W horror film that will hold up to the standards of modern day audiences but the award worthy cinematography by Zach Kuperstein goes above and beyond. Plot wise the story is not anything ground breaking. Francisca lives in the country with her mother and father then one day a stranger comes to the doorstep and everything changes for young Francisca. As she grows into a young woman, Francisca (Kika Magalhaes) takes the tragedy that she experienced as a child and builds upon it the only way that she knows how. Burdened by loneliness and lack of love her mental mind state continues to spiral out of control yet we as the viewer still empathize with her and the situation due to the trauma she suffered.
The performance of Kika Magalhaes as the grown up version of Francisca is one of pure brilliance. She emotes with every ounce of her soul the pain as well as the callous acts of the character. It’s a very surgical take on the role and the precision she shows adds to the dread of the more graphic scenes. Speaking of the graphic scenes, they’ve parted viewers right down the middle. The violence isn’t overly explicit or gore for gore’s sake. It’s realistic lifelike violent acts and they are treated as such. To harken back to my surgical comment it’s very much like watching a surgical procedure yet only performed by a disturbed woman and instead of occurring in a hospital it’s a creepy barn. The ending has also seemed to be a point of contention for some but I actually loved the ending and viewed it as a statement on mental illness and other modern day events. Writer/Director, Nicholas Pesce made some very bold choices for his debut feature, and this film has definitely put him near the top of my list of directors to keep an eye on.
If you like horror films to destroy your emotions and get you talking then by all means make it a priority to see this film. We constantly beg for quality horror. Fellow horror fans The Eyes Of My Mother provides us that in spades. To summarize the experience in a single sentence I’d say. If Ingmar Bergman were alive today this would be his favorite film of the year.
The Eyes Of My Mother is available on iTunes, OnDemand, and Amazon Video.