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.

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By Josh Wilding - 2/25/2013

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.


STARRING:

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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17 Comments
HellsHammer - 2/25/2013, 2:18 PM
...mama...
Carl - 2/25/2013, 2:18 PM
Mama's not the law, I'm the law.
jjk2814 - 2/25/2013, 2:50 PM
Thanks for the review, Josh!

I enjoyed the movie a lot as well.
TheSuperguy - 2/25/2013, 3:19 PM
Wish I could have seen this in theatres...only horror movie I've seen this year is DARK SKIES...it was, well...at least the review was fun to write...
shiverman20 - 2/25/2013, 3:20 PM
couple of good jumps and a spooky atmosphere to start of with, although the last 15 or so minutes just let all the air out of the tyres. I preferred The Pact from last year, which held the suspense much more effectively
shiverman20 - 2/25/2013, 3:28 PM
also, why is this even here?
longbowhunter - 2/25/2013, 3:35 PM
I was with this movie up until the fairy tale ending.
jasonicus - 2/25/2013, 3:43 PM
This was one of the worst horror films in recent years. Laughably bad. None of the characters were likeable, Mama looked retarded, and there are numerous plot holes. I was laughing at the silliness of it pretty much throughout.
DioFoRio - 2/25/2013, 3:46 PM
was guessing this would be a 3 starer. Nice review. Hey Josh ,review John Dies at The End dude.
DEATHbyEXILE - 2/25/2013, 4:03 PM

LAXtremest - 2/25/2013, 4:14 PM
Josh where's all these 5 star reviews everyone's been accusing you of ;)
JoeMomma29 - 2/25/2013, 4:40 PM
superpooper - 2/26/2013, 12:33 AM
Reads like a real good review...why only 3 out of 5 stars? Hmmm.
SimpleObserverOfThings - 2/26/2013, 6:32 AM
My problem with this horror movie is what I have now with mostly all horror movies, and that is there is too many predictability. When my wife and I saw this movie we came expecting something scary, unexpected, and mysterious. The only thing that threw me off was the identitiy of the entity, that's all, everything else was "meh I knew that" and there was only one part that made me jump a little but the rest of the movie wasn't as scary as it was advertised to be.

Not to beat a dead horse, so far the only movie that I would have to say was a truly scary movie, fresh, and almost perfect was Insidious. Fantastic movie, it gave the viewer the right amount of scares, with the mysterious story that made you interested in the movie. Only downfall of the movie was when you saw the demon in complete form, which to me could have been improved better, scarier. (it looked like a serious gothic teenager ready for a halloween party)

If only they improved on the demons look, I think the movie Insidious would have been flawless. Ever since Insidious I've been making comparinsons and so far I've been let down.

I'm just waiting for the right movie to come around that doesn't have cliche plots, unneccessary nudity, predictable scares, long drown out scenes that make you fall asleep (paranormal activity) and doesn't have a terrible ending.

I think I speak for most, we need a fresh, very scary, mysterious, jump out of your skin, horror/suspense movie, that will out due Insidious.

One can only hope.....
AgentSmith - 2/26/2013, 9:43 AM
Loved Mama all the way up to the very end. The twist was a decent surprise, but the scene leading up to it left me scratching my head. @Simpleobserver - LOVED Insidious. Has anyone caught Sinister? Truely Creepy film with a well written story. One of my most recent top pics of horror.

For me - Gore doesn't always = horror. Give me a good story with a good setup for a few scares and I will take Sinister\Insidious\The Ring over Saw 4\Texas Chainsaw\Holloween 2 Remake anyday.
EdgyOutsider - 2/26/2013, 2:06 PM
This movie flat out sucked. Just watched it a bit ago. Texas Chainsaw (2003) is better, scarier and creepier than MaMa. That's bad too cause I hated 2003's Texas Chainsaw movie.
EdgyOutsider - 2/26/2013, 4:13 PM
@AgentSmith: Sinister is creepier than hell. I literally had chills watched it and got freaked a couple times. Insidious is scary at four in the morning when you're watching it for the first time and you're tired as hell.

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