A man comes up a long, dusty road to a house on a hill. That could be the start of many horror films – in fact, it is – but none of them do what debuting writer-director Nicolas Pesce manages in his shocking ‘The Eyes of My Mother’. We quickly notice that the man in question is unwell: giggly, wide-eyed, armed with a huge pistol and the desire to flaunt it. But still, even he doesn’t know he’s just invaded a home where the slicing of flesh is a way of life. There’s a young girl living there, and she’s a fast learner.
Excuse the vagueness, but some surprises are worth keeping. Shooting in ominous black and white (often from a distance), Pesce has crafted an exquisite creepshow that pays homage to the mightiest of fear films, Tobe Hooper’s relentless ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, while still having a coppery taste all its own. The movie skips through the years; sceptical viewers will wonder if such domestic brutality could go unnoticed for so long.
But of course it can: ‘The Eyes of My Mother’ already feels unwittingly timely, a tale from the American heartland tinged with revenge, sex and suffering. If you can stomach the fear, go. Confident hands created this film, and its nightmare will linger for weeks.