*** S P O I L E R S ***
""A MOTHER'S LOVE IS FOREVER"
RUN TIME- 100 MINS
WRITER(S)- NEIL CROSS, ANDRES MUSHIETTI AND BARBARA MUSHIETTI
STARRING- JESSICA CHASTAIN, NIKOLAJ COSTER-WALDAU AND MEGAN CARPENTIER
DIRECTOR- ANDRES MUSHIETTI
Synopsis taken from IMDb
Annabel and Lucas are faced with the challenge of raising his young nieces that were left alone in the forest for 5 years...but how alone were they?
STORY: Whenever Guillermo Del Toro's name is on something I'm always up for giving it a shot. However, with him being a producer, we all know that just means they wanted his name on it. How much he did or didn't partake in the making of this film I don't know, but it's still worth a viewing. Mama is the story of two young girls Victoria (Megan Carpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse), who after a tragedy are left without parents and on their own in an estranged cabin in the woods. They end up becoming ferel children, animalistic and anti-social with other humans due to their being cut off from the world and left to fend for themselves at such a young age. They aren't alone though, an entity they call Mama has been watching and taking care of them.
Victoria and Lilly are found by some men that their uncle Jeffrey (Nikolaj Coster) hired to find them, Jeffrey has been searching for them the whole five years they were gone. When the girls are brought back into society they need a lot of therapy and aren't willing to trust anyone, they're completely wild. Once uncle Jeffrey gets injured his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain) has to take over taking care of the girls until he gets better. Even though Annabel isn't very excited about taking care Victoria and Lilly, it ends up being a good thing because the girls are able to warm up to her. Annabel begins to gain their trust slowly but surely and she begins to get used to them and like them.
Victoria and Lilly are talking to the walls and playing with something when Annabel isn't around. Someone they call "Mama", this same entity that took care of them in the cabin for five years. Annabel starts picking up on their weird behavior and even hears a grown woman's voice humming a lullaby coming from the girls room. Whenever she goes to confront the girls and ask them about their actions, they won't say a word because they say they don't want her to get hurt. And they also tell her not to go in the closet...
One thing that I was caught off guard by and didn't expect was that "Mama" wasn't Victoria and Lilly's actual Mom. Mama is the ghost of a woman named Edith, a mental patient in an asylum back in the 19th century. Edith killed a nun and stole her baby back from the church that separated them and is then given chase by the townsfolk. After seeing no alternative, Edith jumped off a cliff while holding her child so they'd die together. Only her baby got snagged on a tree and died from impact as Edith fell to her watery grave below. Since she died without her child, Edith's spirit can not move on and she's reliving that cycle over and over again.
Only now "Mama" has new children to look after...
|Jeffrey, Annabel, Victoria and Lilly are all confronted by "Mama"|
ACTING: The acting in this movie was pretty well done! There isn't Oscar winning performances but there isn't any really bad ones either. I like the cast chose for this movie. The little girls did an exceptional job for their age and for this being a horror movie. Jessica Chastain did a very good, grounded performance and she looked great.
SCARES/FX: This movie is a "less is more" type of horror film where they don't show you everything. A lot of the scares are in the general creepy feel the movie and there's some solid suspense. They rely a lot on these factors to scare you as much as what you do see and I tip my hat to this movie. Because if done right, you don't have to show everything, if you build enough suspense and give us characters we can relate to it'll take care of itself. Now, I'm not saying I don't like movies that show us everything, I'm simply saying it's stupid to judge a movie on how much isn't shown. You can show as much or little as you want and still get it done right. And Mama was pretty creepy looking if I must say so and I liked when they went into her backstory.
OVERALL: This movie starts off very strong and keeps that integrity until the end of the movie. However, the last 10-15 minutes of the movie become less horror and more drama. I think they spent too much time showing Mama at the very end, even though I can see how it was necessary with the story climax. This film is about isolation and the fear of loneliness and abandonment. And how now matter how good or how bad someone can be, as long as they're willing to ease our minds and our fears, we'll be loyal to that person. It's also about how not having parental figures can damage us.
THIS FILM GETS 3 1/2 REAPER SKULLS OUT OF 5