Alright, beasties. It’s that spooky time of year again. For this edition of Spooktober, I’m going to do a post a day but, like a great haul after trick or treating, I’m hoping to mix it up and deliver some surprises. There’ll be reviews, new or old, seen/unseen, TV or film. Depending on my wicked mood, there may also be lists, audio, or video. I hope you’ll enjoy it and remember: stay spooky.
Chilling. That’s the first word that comes to mind with writer/director Nicolas Pesce‘s The Eyes of My Mother.
A tragedy occurs and breaks up a family’s quiet, happy life. Young Francisca (Olivia Bond) is taught by her mother about human anatomy, which sparks a keen curiosity in her, but also an acceptance of life and death. When she gets older Francisca’s (Kika Magalhaes) interest grows in disturbing ways. The film chronicles her transition in a compelling, and sickening manner.
The film is only an hour and 16 minutes, yet each minute is felt. It’s not said as a negative, it’s just so heavy that you carry each scene with you as you go. It’s one of the oddest, but honestly, most impressive horror films I have seen in a long time. It manages to completely capture you, unnerve you, but also entrance you.
In stark black and white, there’s a foreboding cloud hanging over, and yet it is beautifully shot. The music is subtle and many scenes are filled with silence. Kika Magalhaes is fantastic, and stoic for most of the film, with moments where her facade breaks and the trauma and emotions overwhelm her. The film primarily takes in one location, a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, and in ways, it feels like another world: Francisca’s. With no connection to anyone and a loneliness that pervades, she’s always yearning for the family she once had. The cinematography by Zach Kuperstein is also exquisite, heightening the sense of isolation.
The Eyes of My Mother is really one of a kind. It has a presence that doesn’t disappear when the credits roll. Each scene is meticulously crafted, and it is one where the atmosphere lives in you. A unique directorial debut that shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Eyes of My Mother is currently streaming on HBO Max.