Fantasia Festival screened The Eyes Of My Mother, the disturbing directorial début from writer/director Nicolas Pesce.
The Eyes Of My Mother is a character-driven horror movie that takes a simple premise and adds in elements of some of the best horror movies from over the years. I found some similarities to movies like Audition, Martyrs, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Psycho.
The film starts with a mother and daughter in their large country farmhouse. The mother of the family is an eye surgeon and we hear her educate her daughter on the anatomy of the human eyes. When out in the fields with their cattle she explains to her daughter, Francisca, that out of all animals, the cow’s eyes are most similar to the human eye. Fast-forward ten seconds later and mother and daughter are staring at a severed cow’s head on top of their dining table – It’s mother and daughter bonding time – that time of day again , cow head dissection.
Not long after the mother lets in a passer-by, but unfortunately for her, this passer-by also happens to be a serial-killer. Francisca looks on in horror as she witnesses her mother getting viciously slain, a scene that has more impact than you think.
The film then shifts and Francisca is now a young adult living in the large farmhouse by herself.
The brutal killing of her mother and the curiosity of the human anatomy has awakened a dark and uncontrollable urge in Francisca and turned her into Asami from Takeshi Miike’s, Audition.
I would like to keep this review to a minimum. I was blind (excuse the pun) going into The Eyes Of My Mother but I can honestly say it was one of the best horror’s I have seen in a while.
Shot in tasteful black & white, the cinematography is haunting, as is the soundtrack. Often it’s what you don’t see that really gets under your skin, like the sound of knife repeatedly entering someone’s gut as she stares blankly into space with a smile and look of deep satisfaction; Or like when she gouges out someone’s eyes, then cuts their throat. We first think that such a deep cut would kill, but the cut was done with such precision that it destroyed the victims vocal chords so that every time they tried to scream for help, all that can be heard is a horrible gurgling sound.
One victim say’s to her , “you’re going to kill me, aren’t you?” and she replies, ” why would I kill you?, you’re my only friend”. At that point , and I do believe I said it out loud…
“This Person Is Well And Truly Fucked!”
The lead actress (Kika Magalhaes) is terrifying and play’s the role of Francisca with haunting perfection . She is beautiful and because we’re with her the entire film, you feel a great deal of sympathy for her. At times you find yourself forgetting that she is insane and she’d rip out your eyes in an instant.
A great entry into the indie horror genre. Disturbing, wonderfully acted, and daring. An original horror done with very little, with maximum effect achieved.
The Eyes Of My Mother proudly mixes in some of the horror greats to create some something original, truly unsettling and terrifying. A must for fans of extreme horror.