After putting her young daughter to bed, a mother starts to become paranoid that there is something else in the room with her. The little girl tells her that a monster who goes by the name of Billy lives under her bed. She tries to calm her daughters fears, but it begins to dawn on us that this malevolent force is all too real.
GOODNIGHT, a short horror film by Diane Michelle, cleverly explores the way children might interpret truly unpleasant situations. It tackles an extremely delicate subject matter, but plays it out almost through the lens of the childlike imagination, and the way that they choose to cope with situations well beyond their realm of understanding. In doing so, Michelle forces us to confront the very real form that the monsters these children are so afraid of might take in the real world.
The young parents, played by Joseph Kathrein and Athena Isabel Lebessis, bring a great combination of passionate love but also parental instinct, while the little girl (Penelope Piccirilli) combines her innocence and fear with a sense of maturity well beyond her years.
The events of the film take place at night, and the shots have a sort of moonlit feel to them, making the tension all the more palpable. We all remember being young, feeling so scared of the nighttime, knowing that this was when the monsters could come out. We are at our most afraid and vulnerable.
The film cleverly deals with very serious and horrific subject matter but cleverly shifts our perspective, providing an entirely new and rarely seen look at issues that are all too current in the world. Inventing stories and fantasies is the classic coping mechanism for children, enabling them to try to understand something that is beyond their maturity, and Michelle manages to portray this very effectively with her terrifying chiller. Horror fans will love GOODNIGHT, it gets under your skin, but there is also an important message behind it, and a significant conversation to be had, and that is the stuff of great horror.
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