Alum’s Film Induces Anxiety From Start to Finish


Courtesy of Borderline Films Retrospective

Directed by NYU alum Nicolas Pesce, Black-and-white horror film “The Eyes of My Mother” frightens its audiences through the Francisca’s haunting story.

Thomas Price, Deputy Opinion Editor

NYU alum Nicolas Pesce’s horror film “The Eyes of My Mother” is nothing short of chilling. The film follows Francisca, whose indifference towards death is masterfully portrayed by actress Kika Magalhaes. Piece by piece, she goes through her life, leaving victims in her wake. The film is executed with precise and clean instruction which results in a production almost void of technical flaws.

Starting with the cinematography, “The Eyes of My Mother” is shot in a cold and haunting black-and-white which often helps to accentuate the grotesque imagery displayed so vividly on the screen. What makes this film unique is that it does not compromise its aesthetic beauty, even in the moments which tantalize the audience’s morbid curiosity. It is a gorgeous display of technical elegance which will likely broaden the film’s audience beyond the usual horror-flick crowd. The scenes have been edited to perfection, leading to unsettling moments with musical cues and jarring cuts without having to rely on played-out jump scare tactics.

Beyond all of the technical aspects and the occasional flawed moments that critics love to pick apart, the reason that this film is a success is simply because it is scary. It is horrifying in fact. It fills viewers with the same unsettling dread that is reserved only for the most terrifying of efforts that the modern horror genre has to offer. The subject matter is supremely grotesque, and oftentimes audiences might find themselves watching through the spaces between their fingers, which is by no means a detriment when dealing with this genre.

This film is the exact kind of experience that is needed to energize the movie-going community. It could quite possibly become a large-scale success at the box office as well. “The Eyes of My Mother” produces fear in mass quantity and still does not once compromise the quality of each scare as the story progresses. In its black-and-white style and gorgeous morbidity, this absolute nightmare of a movie is any indie fan’s dream.

There simply is not enough words that can capture the kind of anxiety that is so ever-present in this movie-watching experience. It could never be done justice simply told from a writer’s point of view — visual, visceral films like this never could. With that fact in mind, it is simply recommended that you go see the blood-curdling endeavor for yourself.

Email Thomas Price at [email protected]