During a robbery at a painting restorer's house, the mother of a young girl is killed. The young girl, Leire, witnesses this and is standing eye-to-eye to the thief and killer, but survives. Many years later the killer stumbles upon this girl again. He feels an attraction towards her but notices that there's something weird about the girl. As soon as he realises that she remembers him he kidnaps her, something his girlfriend doesn't approve of. The killer becomes obsessed with the fact that the girl doesn't function as other people and that she can't laugh.
While I expected "The Dead Mother" to be more of a straight forward horror film, finding out that it was more of a thriller mystery was far from a disappointment. It mixes alot of elements, some from the crime genre, some from drama, horror, mystery, noir, art films and even some strange comedy is thrown into the mix. But it's in no way a film I would call a comedy, as many of the things I giggled at probably weren't meant to be funny.
There's certainly nothing funny about the story of a little girl (Leire) that witnesses her mother getting shot to death, and years later stumbling upon the killer (Ismael) again only to be kidnapped by him and held for ransom. There's also nothing funny about the killer becoming more and more obsessed with the girl and her mental problems. It's a really solid story and I really rooted for the girl to get out safe from the maniac couple, even though the film often turned the film into a perspective that lets you feel and care for Ismael (you never really care for his annoying bitch girlfriend, though). It was a nice touch for sure. It also works as the films favor that the girl is in fact mentally handicapped. You never know what goes on inside of her head, and through the entire film there are barely any scenes that even show if she understands what is going on at all. She loves chocolate though!
The comedy aspect of the film wasn't intended so it sort of became this weird thing the movie had. There are alot of scenes that I would think were taken straight from a comedy, except with a serious mood to them. It was really weird. One example of this is the very ending, which could've been a sad and moving ending had it not turned to the weird comedic-ish end. It's hard to say if these things drag the film down or not since they weren't really laugh-out-loud moments, but rather just similar to comedy and stood out because of it.
Overall I was impressed by the movie and especially how Ana Álvarez portrays the mentally handicapped girl Leire. She was almost over the top at times but it really worked, it became even more unsettling when she seemed to be living in a completely different world altogether, not responding to almost anything the characters around her did. Karra Elejalde's character, Ismael (the killer), is a solid lead actor in the film and makes us care for him even though he's a bad guy and there are some honestly intense scenes in the film thanks to him. I recommend the film to any fans of Spanish films, and drama/thrillers especially. It's a great mix of genres but never really steps too far into one or the other, and instead slides back and forth. Some dark moments in it for sure!