Running Time: 100 minutes
Classification: 15 (UK) PG-13 (U.S.)
Plot: After being abandoned in the woods for 5 years after their father killed their mother, sisters Lilly and Victoria have to settle in to their new suburban lifestyle, when their Uncle (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain) take the girls in. It seems they’re not alone, as creepy ghost Mama is
veryprotective over them; this soon starts to cause problems within the new family dynamic.
Brought to you by Guillermo Del Toro, (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Splice) this supernatural horror will keep you on the edge of your seat (whether that being the suspense or you just trying to hide from the film).
(Good Points) What worked:
Jessica Chastain was unrecognisable in this role compared to that in Zero Dark Thirty, which shows how adaptable an actress she is. She plays the girls ‘step-mother’ Annabel, who isn’t too keen on the girls staying. Her performance in this film is very decent, the best from this cast
Depending on your horror film preference, it could be a good or bad thing that the film is jumpy. I would class it as a good thing when a horror makes you jump or attempts to. There’s something about that eeriness when a person is walking through the house and its silent, the suspense of it all, just waiting for something to happen. This film has a number of those, and although I didn’t jump myself, (I’ve watched horror films for years so probably become accustomed to it) my friends I went with jumped on a number of occasions. So if you’re a ‘jumper’ I would advise to watch this film with caution! However if you’re wanting to scare yourself or make yourself jump, this film might be for you!
You wouldn’t think it, but this film has the potential to be quite the emotional roller coaster. First, I didn’t expect to laugh at all during this film, but there were a number of laugh-out-loud moments, even if they were only brief moments in between the terror. I did laugh a lot at my friends’ reactions to the film too; which explains why I’m reflecting on this film being more funny than scary. Second, screaming. Now, I’m not a screamer, but amongst the company of the other movie-goers, there were a few yelps/screams/shrieks during the ‘scary parts’ of the film. Last, I wasn’t expecting it to be sad at all, but the last scene of the film really got to me. I didn’t cry, but I was very close, now I’m not going to spoil it, but it was a very moving scene regarding the two sisters. Like I said, this film will make you laugh, it will make you (possibly) cry and it will make you (possibly) scream/jump or both!
(Bad Points) What didn’t work:
It may just be me, but I felt the movie was lacking something. I can’t tell if it’s just the story itself, the way it was portrayed or the lack of backstory given; it was quite odd/eerie but seemed to fail in the scaring department (for me personally).
Don’t get me wrong, the film was good, it just wasn’t anything spectacular. There are so many horror films out there, and to me, this one doesn’t particularly stand out. It follows all the typical conventions of a horror film (perhaps a little too closely), but doesn’t have that edge to it, like The Grudge, The Ring, House of Wax all do.
The ending. Now, nothing is more annoying than a bad ending. The end to this film isn’t necessarily bad, it’s not exactly predictable, it’s just not anything really. It kind of makes you want to see more in a way but not in the sense of a cliff-hanger, disappointing is probably the word to use to describe it.
Expanded from a 3 minute short, Mama is an average film, most likely to be overshadowed by the likes of The Evil Dead and Carrie when it comes to reviewing the best horror films of the year. It’s one of those films that you watch and enjoy, but nothing more than that. The acting in the film is of a good standard; the thing you will most likely come away remembering after watching this, is the creepy Mama and the two sisters. Worth a watch, just don’t expect it to blow your socks off!