In a remote house in the Austrian countryside, ten year old twins (Elias and Lukas Schwarz) spend carefree summer days. When their mother (Wuest) returns from a hospital stay, her face bandaged from a cosmetic procedure, she seems to be a different person. Distant and unloving, she is harsh with the boys, seeming to favor Elias over Lukas. Convinced an impostor has come into their lives, the twins determine to unravel the mystery of where their “real” mother has gone.
Playing on archetypal horror tropes of creepy houses and preternaturally precocious children, first time directors Fiala and Franz create chilling suspense through a minimalist tone and a sinister use of sound and silence. The mother’s bandages recall Franju’s classic “Eyes without a Face”, evoking both spectral ghosts and earthly monsters. Note-perfect performances and striking cinematography create an unnerving sense of existential psychosis in this atmospheric mother of a thriller.