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‘The Eyes of My Mother’ Director Finds His Biggest Scares in the Audience’s Imagination

In Nicolas Pesce’s slow-building horror film The Eyes of My Mother, the director is more interested in what you don’t see than what you do. In the opening moments of the fim, Pesce depicts a young girl who talks to a mysterious, though slightly off-putting stranger. Shortly thereafter, the girl is sitting at her kitchen table, listening to the sounds of her mother being murdered by said stranger in the next room.

“When the audience is at its most vulnerable, the sequence delivers the finale to the suspense—the actual murder,” Pesce writes on MovieMaker Magazine. “But like in The Night of the Hunter, you never actually see the murder. The moment is experienced through the young daughter sitting in another room, listening to the violence—an image far more chilling than the violence itself. And in only giving the audience a piece of the information, the viewer is forced to fill in the blanks, to imagine what’s going on in the other room to match the terrible sounds. If I were to show the violence on screen, you could close your eyes, or look away. But if I force you to think about it, you can’t avoid it. And that’s far more haunting. That’s my brand of horror: finding a way to force you to think about something you’d never want to imagine. What’s scarier than that?”

Read the full story here and watch a scene from the film below.