Much more clever in concept than execution, Austrian import Goodnight Mommy is one of those thrillers at least partially done in by its own hype. Its supremely creepy trailer, circulated online among heavy-breathing horror fans hungry for the next Them, oversells a gorgeous but predictable setup whose innovations are strictly aesthetic.

Played by first-time actors Elias and Lukas Schwarz, twin brothers Elias and Lukas enjoy a scrapbook-worthy childhood on their family’s farmstead in northern Austria, all skinned knees, dirty sneakers and gross bugs in jars. Largely unsupervised, the boys and their carefree lifestyle get a serious jolt upon the return of their mother (Susanne Wuest), a television presenter who’s recently undergone extensive cosmetic surgery. Twisted up in unsettling bandages that completely shroud her face, it’s not even clear that this is the mom the kids know and love — a suspicion fueled by her increasingly violent and erratic behavior.

Directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz, shooting in a sumptuous and nostalgic 35 mm, have a hell of an eye for drama, harnessing the sparseness of their setting to capitalize on the rising mistrust between parent and child. But no amount of behind-camera posturing can make up for the presumptuous storytelling, built around a cobwebby “twist” that’s all but revealed way early. If Fiala and Franz wanted to make their film more about the density of the family dynamic than cultivating organic fear, they shouldn’t have relied on moves everyone’s seen before.

City Paper grade: B-