Friday, 13 March 2015

Mama

"Mama" (2013, Andrés Muschietti, Guillermo del Toro, Toma 78, De Milo Productions) is a supernatural horror based on a 2008 short called "Mamá".

Jeffery D'Asange has lost everything financially in the banking crisis and, in a fit of despair, he kills his business partners and his wife and runs off with his two young daughters to a cabin out in the woods where he plans to kill them and himself too. Unbeknownst to him, the cabin is already occupied by something otherworldly, and this otherworldly thing (which calls itself Mama) is all about the crazy maternal instinct, so you can bet your boots that old Jeff doesn't get to off his kids.

The kids are still missing five years on and Jeff's twin brother, Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), has been looking for them with the help of a search party. They're eventually found still residing in the cabin, but are now completely feral.

After a battle over rights with his sister in law's mother, Lucas and his rock chick girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), bring little Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nélisse) to live with them. The only thing is, Mama also tagged along with the girls and she doesn't like to share....

I'm going to jump in first and say that I enjoyed this film, but I wasn't scared by it. It's nicely shot. Annabel and Lucas were relatable and were rounded enough characters. Although, speaking as a rock chick myself, I was a bit disappointed that Annabel was painted as non-maternal quite so much at the start with her 'rock 'n' roll lifestyle' being blamed primarily for this. Thanks for playing to the stereotype, guys, but I don't see anything wrong with enjoying Slipknot and being a mother!

Some of the scenes with Mama are great. She is hidden most of the time and I enjoyed her sneaking about in the background. There are scenes where she quickly crawls about and it is very effective. However, the end scenes showed too much of her and she comes to the same fate as the monster in Jeepers Creepers; less scary. Although there is a hella dark end to this film.

The kids nailed it. They were great. Victoria made a realistic and sympathetic character and Lilly was very convincing and freaky as the feral child. Child centred horror is almost always effective, but the scenes with the kids playing with Mama are haunting in their creepy, creepy innocence.

So yes, it didn't make me wet my pants and it didn't make me check under the bed for creepy, skinny monster mothers, but it was an engaging hour and forty-odd minutes, and I would happily watch it again in the future.

[Image: De Milo Productions, et al]
Hani