Rated R

76 Minutes

Released December 2nd

Do you like to be mind-numbingly grossly creeped out?…in a manner way worse than watching ‘The Walking Dead’ or ‘Game of Thrones’ murder scenes? See The Eyes of My Mother! This low budget black and white deliciously camp horror movie was incredibly made in 18 days on a shoestring budget by a first-time director. The film premiered at Sundance this year and immediately drew attention.

This film is the combined result of director Nicolas Pesce’s vivid imagination and his courage to be simple in his choices of eerie, stark sets, and the keen intuition for style of cinematographer Zach Kuperstein, production designer Sam Hensen, and Composer Ariel Loh. All of these artists seem to be on the same wavelength. They have created a mysterious, profound, plaintive environment similar to the classic German Expressionist films of the 1920’s. Pesce also has managed to engage extraordinary actors who are well trained and incredibly talented and yet do not have the resumes to demand high compensation – nor do they have the cache to pull in big box office, so it is up to us as the audience to use “word of mouth” marketing for this gem of a film.

The screenplay by Pesce is just realistic enough to be entirely believable even in its horrific detail and its psychotic ramifications. This makes it even more terrifying than a film such as Rob Zombie’s House of a Thousand Corpses – where have to suspend your sense of reality to believe it. In The Eyes of My Mother the reality surrounds you and pulls you in, because it is actually close to a possibility that this tale might actually have taken place. You may think that this is a horror film. However it is really more of a psychological study, full of depravity.

The locations near Cooperstown in rural upstate New York are perfect in their depiction of the classic lonely isolated and dilapidated farmhouse and barn. The actors do an admirable job with very little dialogue: Diana Agostini, Olivia Bond, Will Brill, Flora Diaz, Paul Nazak, and Clara Wong. Kika Magalhaes gives a tour de force performance as the deeply complicated, eerily beautiful yet irretrievably damaged “Francesca”. Magalhaes’ training as a dancer serves her well for endowing the physicality of the role. You will be aghast at her actions, yet you will feel the loneliness and pain that have warped her grasp of the substance of her life.

The choice of the director to use Magalhaes’ native Portuguese with subtitles at the beginning of the film, even though she is fluent in English, was creatively inspired. This simple artistic choice lends an extra layer of mystery to the psyches of the characters while illustrating that most of what is communicated on film is expressed more through body language and facial expression than through the dialogue itself.

Bravo to Nicolas Pesce, his crew, and Kika Magalhaes and the small talented cast for a work well done!

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com. For previously published reviews see https://kwboole.wordpress.com