Mama (2013)

Posted: February 6, 2013 in Movie Review
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Directed By: Andres Muschietti

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet, Jane Moffat

Subgenre: Ghosts

Synopsis: Two young girls return from living in the wilderness alone for five years, but bring back an overprotective spirit with them.

Thoughts: I trust Guillermo del Toro, so when I saw his name attached to Mama, I knew this was a movie I wanted to see, even if he was only an Executive Producer.  I’m not as opposed to PG-13 horror as some fans, so that wasn’t much of a deterent for me either. 

There are common elements to ghost stories that make them compelling to viewers.   It’s pretty much a must to have a creepy locale, even if it isn’t the main locale of the movie.  Mama delivers that with the remote cabin, as well as some pretty spooky scenes in the suburban house as well.  Atmosphere cannot be underestimated in a movie like this.  The other thing that a ghost story needs is a creepy ass ghost.  Once again, Mama delivers that.  The ghost is definately inspired from J Horror, but stands on her own. 

The cast is suprisingly good as well.  This is one of those rare occasions where I thought that the children outshone the adults in the film.  I cannot fathom what it takes to get children to play a role like they did in this movie.  Megan Charpentier and Isabell Nelisse both did fantastic jobs in this movie.  The other role that I enjoyed was Nikolaj Coster-Waldau playing both the ill-fated brother Jeffrey and favorite Uncle Lucas.  He didn’t have nearly enough screen time if you ask me.  I was fairly indifferent to Jessica Chastain’s character as I moved from loathing her in the beginning to starting to  feel a pang of admiration for her towards the end of the movie. 

Director Andres Muschetti did a fine job with his debut here, but you can tell there were many imspirations ‘t from the genre, from the J Horror inspired ghost to the creeping decay on the walls, much of the film felt borrowed or patched together from previous ideas.  That isn’t to say that Mama isn’t an entertaining movie, because I actually quite enjoyed it, it’s just that there are not many original ideas found here. 

If you’re a fan of ghost stories, I wouldn’t hesitate seeing Mama.  It’s similar to movies such as The Devil’s Backbone, Ju-On and The Eye, so if you enjoyed those movies, chances are you will like Mama as well.  If fast-paced action and gore are more your thing, you probably won’t like this one as much.


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