‘Goodnight Mommy’ Ending, Explained: What Had Happened At The Barn? Does The Mother Survive?


The Amazon Prime Video film, “Goodnight Mommy,” directed by Matt Sobel, is a remake of the 2014 Austrian film of the same name. Starring Naomi Watts, the remake is not as effective as the original. Everything is over-explained and diluted to the point that it is neither scary nor gory. When it comes to cinematography, I would prefer Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s “Goodnight Mommy” any day over the remake. Honestly, the remake feels quite unnecessary, and the changes made to the original do not work for the better.

Spoilers Ahead 

‘Goodnight Mommy’ Plot Summary: What Is The 2022 Film About?

Twin brothers Elias and Lukas visit their mother in her country house. Their parents have separated, and the kids are visiting their mother after quite some time. Their mother does not look like her usual self; she has undergone plastic surgery, and her face is bandaged. Right after their arrival, she introduced some rules to them: they were not supposed to go to the barn, leave the blinds open, enter her office or her bedroom, or make noise. From the onset, Elias felt that their mother was behaving differently. She was not someone who made rules. They admitted that maybe it was the surgery that left her bitter, but when she refused to sing them a goodnight song, they wondered if she truly was their mother under the bandage. From childhood, the mother used to sing them goodnight, yet this time she refused to do so. The belief that the woman they were living with was not their mother grew stronger as days passed. She tore apart a drawing Elias had made of him and Lukas holding their mother’s hands. Their mother always stored their drawings. This was unexpected. Elias decided to take a look at the barn. He believed that his mother was hiding something. The barn had old toys and comics, but on the wall, Elias noticed blood. Lukas dismissed it, saying it might just be red paint.

The twins attempted to contact their father, but their mother found out and destroyed their phone. The twins decided to run away. They packed their bags and found shelter in a nearby house. The owner seemed to not live there, but due to the heavy rain outside, the brothers decided to stay there. Elias was woken up from his sleep by the police, who found them there. The owner had noticed movement through the motion sensors and asked the police to find out if anyone had trespassed on his property. The boys tried to explain to the police that the woman they were living with was an imposter and not their mother. The police later received a call from their mother and dropped them back at home. From her conversation with the policeman, we learn that their mother was a celebrity, but her fame had faded over time. She lied to the police officers, stating that she did not raise her hand on her son, whereas, in reality, she had slapped Elias for refusing to accept her as his mother. She discussed with the police the issues she had with her son, but we do not get to hear that conversation. The situation was beyond control now. The twin brothers knew they had to leave, but to do so, they had to take care of their mother. They knew that her medicine made her drowsy, so they tied her hands and legs and questioned her about the whereabouts of their real mother. They planned to escape and find their mother, the one who loved them unconditionally.

What Does The Black Creature Symbolize?

The mother figure stirs a sense of fear and uncertainty. We do not get to see her face until nearly halfway through the film. Is she who she claims to be underneath the bandage? She removes her bandage when her son escapes the house. It was a choice she made knowing that she would meet outsiders (the police officers). The mother used to be a popular figure, but she is no longer relevant. The plastic surgery is her attempt to feel good about herself. The separation from her husband and an accident that is revealed at the end of the film changed her. She wanted to start afresh, but the past never stopped haunting her. She wanted to be a loving mother, but at the same time, she wanted to be in control. She lost her calm when Elias exclaimed that she was not his mother. She was denied love and fame, and when her son denied her motherhood, she couldn’t take it anymore.

In his dreams, Elias would often see his mother. She was not the mother he knew. Underneath the bandage and clothes, she was a demon. In his dream, she metamorphosed into a black demonic creature. Her skin tore open to reveal her darkness. She would crawl on the floor, wanting to get a hold of Elias. According to Elias, the woman he was living with was not his mother. She was not even human; she was a supernatural being who wanted to consume him. Lukas convinced Elias that she wanted to separate them and everything that she did was to break them apart. The twins were not going to allow any demonic presence to destroy their bond; they would fight it and find a way to be together.

‘Goodnight Mommy’ Ending Explained: What Had Happened At The Barn? Does The Mother Survive?

Elias tied his mother to the bed and questioned her about being his real mother. He refused to believe that she was his mother. Even though she apologized for her past mistakes, Lukas was not convinced. Lukas planned to run away from the house with Elias, and he prepared for it. But Elias was not ready to give up on their mother. He asked her why her eyes were not green as they used to be in pictures. She tried to convince him by stating that she wore colored lenses and had them in her bag. Lukas checked the bag and confirmed that he did not find the lens. According to Lukas, the mother was lying, and questioning her was a waste of time. He was unaffected by her tears, but Elias became sentimental. Meanwhile, the police came to check on them. He lied to them about his mother, stating that she was not at home. The police were not satisfied with his answer, but they did not have the time to investigate.

Lukas and Elias left their home with their mother tied to the bed and her mouth sealed with tape. Elias lied to Lukas, saying that he had forgotten his toothbrush and had rushed back home. He checked the bag and found the lens. He realized that Lukas had lied to him. Lukas stood behind him, asking him to trust him and not to believe what the mother said. He had had enough. He pushed Lukas aside, entered his mother’s room, and locked it. He untied her and cried in his mother’s arms, expressing how it was Lukas who was manipulating him all this time. His mother embraced him and tried to calm him down. Elias wanted his mother to help Lukas. In the meantime, his mother asked him to accompany her to the barn. In the meantime, Elias could not find Lukas. As he approached the barn, he could feel the overwhelming fear. He did not wish to face the truth, but his mother encouraged him to look at the blood-stained wall. She reminded him that he was playing with a gun and did not know that it was loaded. He shot Lukas by mistake, and he died as a result of the accident. She wanted him to differentiate between fantasy and reality. He could not accept the truth; he wanted his mother to stop forcing him to face it. As he screamed at his mother, asking her to stop, he pushed her off the elevation. She dropped to the ground, and the fire from the lantern caught on the hay and the woods. The barn was on fire, and Elias ran to save his life. He was struggling to comprehend what had unfolded; it was too much for him to process. He looked up and saw his mother. She was unaffected by the fire, and behind her was Lukas. She held her hand out for Elias, and the three left together, just like in the picture Elias had drawn.

Elias could not cope with the death of his twin brother, Lukas. To deal with the loss, he started to live in denial. His delusional state of mind led him to imagine that Lukas was by his side as always. His mother refused to play along with him. She did not acknowledge Lukas’s presence, and to protect his delusion, he started seeing his mother as the devil. He knew that by confronting the truth he would lose the comfort of imagination, and he did not wish for that to happen. This was why he dismissed the bloodstain on the barn and made himself believe that it was red paint. He wanted to run away from the house and not trust his mother. He had to choose between the real world, which was his mother, and his fantasy world, which was Lukas. Even though he cried for help, in the end, he could not accept the truth and pushed his mother away. His mother became a part of his fantasy world. He could not accept that he was in some way responsible for his mother’s death, so he imagined that the accident at the barn never occurred; it was all a bad dream. He walked away with his mother and brother. His world was now balanced, and he had the people he loved by his side.

“Goodnight Mommy” deals with broken individuals. After losing her son and eventually separating from her husband, the mother went through a surgical procedure to feel like her youthful self. But Elias’s behavior constantly reminded her of the accident and how her nearly perfect life was destroyed. She became abusive and punished Elias for talking to Lukas all the time. On the other hand, Elias went through a traumatic experience at a young age. After Lukas’s death, he refused to accept reality and built a world where his brother was still alive. His mind was split into two. He evaluated situations as himself and also as Lukas. Elias was lonely without his brother, and the distance from the mother figure due to the separation made it worse. His world of fantasy was his way of coping with the loss and loneliness.

“Goodnight Mommy” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Matt Sobel.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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