Josh Wilding Reviews: MAMA
It's been out for a while in the US, but the Guillermo del Toro produced Mama has only just hit UK cinemas. Hit the jump for my verdict on this creep horror flick from new director Andrés Muschietti and Luther creator Neil Cross.
Horror movies seem to be very hit and miss these days, but Mama thankfully manages to avoid the clichés and all too familiar jumps and scares seen so often in the genre. While the overall concept itself isn't the most original of set-up's - spooky kids haunted by an unknown threat that apparently only they can see! - there's more than enough here to set it apart from lesser fare. Just when you think you've figured out what will happen next, the movie throws a curveball at you that it's hard to imagine anyone will see coming, and the ending in particular is the perfect example of this. Rather than go for the expected and predictable choice, Mama heads in a direction that will stick with you long after the movie ends. Of course, the fact that the genius creator of Luther is credited for the screenplay probably has a lot to do with this, while director Andrés Muschietti firmly establishes himself as an impressive talent to watch out for.
The two young actresses who play Victoria and Lilly are fantastic, and it can't have been easy for them to deliver such complex and nuanced performances. However, the film mostly hinges on the superb - and very nearly unrecognisable - Jessica Chastain. Rather than playing the stereotypical loving mother, there's a lot more to her character than that, and she never fails to convince. Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is also great, although he unfortunately spends far too much time on the bench, turning up at the last minute seemingly only for the sake of convenience. As for Mama herself (itself?), Guillermo del Toro's presence becomes clear, so it's a shame then that the fact that the creature is a not always fully convincing CGI creation sometimes snaps you out of an otherwise engrossing horror movie. However, there's no denying that she's still an extremely horrifying threat which will keep you on the edge of your seat before you jump out of it!
While it may not redefine the horror genre, Mama certainly succeeds in putting the focus on a genuinely creepy atmosphere rather cheap gore effects. Well worth checking out!
2013 Reviews So Far...
• The Last Stand (3/5)
• Bullet To The Head (1/5)
• Wreck-It Ralph (4/5)
• A Good Day To Die Hard (2/5)
• Warm Bodies (4/5)
Andres Muschietti directs Mama as his first big film from a script he co-wrote with his sister and producer Barbara Muschietti and "Luther" writer Neil Cross. Guillermo del Toro presents this supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their parents were killed. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night.
Jessica Chastain as Annabel
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Lucas/Jeffrey
Megan Charpentier as Victoria
Isabelle Nélisse as Lilly
Daniel Kash as Dr. Dreyfuss
Javier Botet as Mama
RELEASE DATE: Out Now!
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