Naomi Watts is one mysterious mother in Goodnight Mommy.

PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at Prime Video’s upcoming reimagining of the 2014 Austrian horror film of the same name, which sees Watts star alongside Peter Hermann and Big Little Lies alums Cameron and Nicholas Crovetti.

When twin brothers (Cameron and Nicholas, 14) arrive at their mother’s country home to discover her face hidden by bandages — the result of a recent cosmetic surgery, she claims — they sense something is not right.

She acts completely different than the mother they once knew: She implements odd house rules, smokes in her bathroom and secretly rips up a drawing they made for her. As her behavior grows more and more bizarre, the boys begin to wonder whether the woman beneath the gauze is their mom at all.

Watts, 53, tells PEOPLE, “Every role requires me to explore some part of myself; maybe something deep within me that’s been left untapped might come through.”

“There’s been a common thread perforated throughout my career, but I always try to find roles that teach me something new. This was no different,” she continues. “It was quite confronting to face that level of darkness. It was definitely one of the most challenging characters I’ve played. It was almost impossible to identify with some of her choices.”

Watts says she took special care in acting with her young costars, explaining, “I was acutely aware of how mindful I needed to be with this particular material. I made every effort to ensure that, but Nicholas, Cameron — they are total pros, by the way — and I were always on the same page.”

“I was constantly checking in with them and their mom after a tough scene,” she says. “It was also important to me to keep some levity, so I would try and crack jokes with them and keep the atmosphere as light as possible.”

Director Matt Sobel adds that he believes the original film is one that “combine(s) tantalizing mystery and thrills with rich and resonant emotion.”

And in making the new film, which leans more toward the psychological thriller genre as opposed to horror, “I saw an opportunity to preserve this unique mixture while injecting a completely new set of themes we wanted to explore,” Sobel notes.

“If I had to point to a key difference between the films, I’d say the original is more interested in tone and aesthetic, while our reimagining favors character and psychology,” he adds.

As for what he hopes viewers take away from Goodnight Mommy? “A good conversation,” says Sobel. “My favorite films are those that live in the audience’s mind long after the credits roll.”

Goodnight Mommy is streaming Sept. 16 on Prime Video.




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