Mama (2013)

Mama (2013)
  • Time: 100 min
  • Genre: Horror | Thriller
  • Director: Andrés Muschietti
  • Cast: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier


Guillermo del Toro presents Mama, a 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.


  • Initially I was not too enamored with the plot line but interested enough to give the movie a shot. So many horror movies have promised much and delivered little to the point that I have given up on watching a movie that entertains and surprises me. Whilst Evil Dead served up bloody gore with a reasonable storyline and some really good acting, Mama has finally delivered what all other movies have promised. I’m not one for writing spoilers so rest assured that this review won’t have any.

    Mama delivers some good shocks, moments where you’ll be telling the actors ‘not to go in there’ plus a very unique and interesting twist that I have not witnessed in any other movie. It is this twist that makes the movie stand out from its peers and has encouraged me to endorse this movie for others to watch and to make their own decision.

    This movie takes the ghost movie genre to a different level that once repeated will immediately lose it’s appeal, and as such has made it’s mark on me.

    I hope that you enjoy this feature for the originality it offers.

  • “Daddy,look! There’s a woman outside the window.And she’s not touching the floor.”

    “Mama” has all the elements to make it a great, creepy horror movie. It starts very strong with a somewhat hazy situation with a desperate father who killed his wife and abducts his children to an unknown destination. I suppose it’s a family tragedy in the making caused by an economic crisis. However, the plan to kill the two sisters Victoria and Lilly goes awry after an accident in which they end up in a remote cabin in the woods. Here, the father ultimately can’t carry out his act of desperation by the intervention of a blurred (as seen through the eyes of Victoria who is visually impaired) being who appears to be “Mama” afterwards .

    What follows is for me one of the most impressive forbearing scenes of this movie, namely when the two girls are found after 5 years. The image of the two swinging, smeared with mud, humming sisters on the refrigerator where they moved to with high speed in an arachnid way. Succeeded by the images in the psychiatric institution where the sisters are in observation and where it’s shown how they have evolved into the skittish underdeveloped beings through their prolonged isolation. The moment when Victoria suddenly appears in the viewing window is an impetus for similar horror elements and it made ​​me think of Samara from “The Ring”.
    When Luke, the brother of the missing father who has custody of the two sisters, moves into a house, which is offered by the institution where the accompanying psychiatrist works, together with Annabel his girlfriend, it appears that something else has nested itself there too. Luke ends up in the hospital because of “Mama”, so Annabel is all alone to take care of the two sisters and that’s when the trouble starts.

    The story on its own has been told countless times in other haunted-house movies. Although it is not really a haunted-house movie in the purest sense of the word. A bundle of cliches from other horror movies pass in review including the soundtrack. Ok, it’s cheap but I have to admit that most horror movies depend on it, and without it, it seems rather that you have seen a fairy tale instead of an unnerving horror/scary movie. In other words, it has to be like this.

    The acting of the two girls was a top performance. Especially Lilly looked sometimes terrifying and demonic. Suddenly emerging from the darkness with the expressionless gaze and then disappearing lightning fast while giggling. She was also the only one of the pair who unconditionally accepted “Mama” as her natural mother and couldn’t or wouldn’t say goodbye to this entity. Victoria wasn’t such a strong and convincing person, but that was more in line with the character. She quickly made ​​the transition to the more human world and accepted Lucas and Annabel as surrogate parents. That’s why she rejected the request of Lilly to go outside and play with “Mama”. Lucas quickly disappeared out of the picture, and therefore played a minor role. Annabel on the other other hand was also a strong interpretation. An alternative rock chick, with absolutely no maternal instinct (I thought she was pleased that the pregnancy test was negative in the beginning of the movie). She evolves into a mother figure after a while who really cares about the sisters.

    But the strongest character turned out to be the creature “Mama”. I read here and there about the bad CGI or irritating SFX, but I haven’t noticed any of this.. I found it a compelling and terrifying spectacle. To my surprise I saw the name Javier Botet between the other actors on IMDB. The interpreter of “Mama” … duhuh …. This person was told at the age of 5 that he’s suffering from the symptoms of Marfan. A deviation that causes a person to grow to an unusual height with long, skinny arms,legs and fingers. He has this natural anomaly used to play personages like “Mama” and “Medeiros” in the [REC] movies. The CGI is subsequently projected on it. This gave the figure “Mama” a more realistic figure. The only laughable thing was the wig shuffling over the floor. They could have worked that out in a different way.

    Eventually I thought it was a frightening movie with a very intense atmosphere and properly placed scare moment (and I’m not easily scared). Again this shows that a good horror doesn’t always require the necessary gore elements to make it oppressive. Personally I thought the end was a bit far-fetched with a baby corpse kept in an archive and the in a huge swarm of moths bursting cocoon. Just like in “The Woman in Black” the found remedy doesn’t eliminate the curse.

  • The latest offering from Spanish filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro follows two feral little girls, abandoned in the woods with none but the mysterious “Mama” to watch over them for five years. When they are finally recovered by their uncle and his reluctant girlfriend, the two sisters bring Mama back with them.

    By any measure, this is a disappointing film from Del Toro. His previous horror movies have pushed the boundaries of the genre, offering fantasy, tragedy and a strong emotional resonance. While I generally wouldn’t fault Del Toro for making a more traditional movie, I expected more from him on the storytelling front. He decided to produce (and help rewrite) Mama after seeing a short-film version, which – though incredibly creepy – did not have anything in the way of plot.

    Del Toro has previously explored the mother-child relationship with great success. In Pan’s Labyrinth, the mother was full of love for her children, but weak, sickly and therefore absent – unable to protect them. So little Ofelia took it upon herself to try to rescue both her mother and baby brother. In The Orphanage, a frantic mother dedicates herself to finding her lost son, while another woman is consumed with rage and despair after her own child is stolen from her.

    In Mama this dynamic is revisited in an incredibly shallow way, and without the mystery or charm of Del Toro’s other films. There are several creepy moments in Mama, but for the most part, little characterization and buildup are given that the movie is often unintentionally comical. The opening segment that shows how the girls came to live in the woods is so devoid of context as to seem completely bizarre.

    Additionally, I felt very put-out by the awkward plot maneuvering to get Annabel (Jessica Chastain) alone with the girls, and remaining alone with them long after it ceased to make any kind of sense. Their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) has been tirelessly searching for the girls for 5 years, and already has a connection with them based on the fact that he looks exactly like their late father. But it is immediately understood that his girlfriend, who has neither the skills nor the inclination to be a mother, will set aside her passion for music and stay at home with them. She is left with two severely traumatized girls as Lucas inexplicably heads off to work, though it has already been established that he works (i.e. “paints pictures”) from home. And for good measure, let’s send him off to investigate – something? – in the woods, just to make sure that Chastain is left alone even longer with the girls.

    And why? Because men can’t/shouldn’t be afraid of the bogeyman? Because we derive some kind of satisfaction from watching a vulnerable woman tiptoe around every corner? I find that kind of “horror” to be cheap and unsatisfying. And in the other two movies I mentioned, Del Toro explored messages about love and family, adding elements of mystery and narrative depth that were non-existent in Mama. This is particularly disappointing from a filmmaker who allegedly thinks very deeply about the purpose and meaning of horror.

    Maybe I missed the point, but I failed to see how any part of Mama was anti-establishment: “crazy” mothers and the mentally ill are demonized (though notably, disturbed and violent fathers are given a pass — “Save the girls” he says, what a change of heart!); young women who are relieved not to be pregnant must be cured of their unconventional ways and give in to the biological need to parent; and men must remain on the outside of the tight bond between mother and child.

    Go for a cliche, occasionally creepy, and somewhat sexist hour and a half, but don’t expect the quality you’re used to from Del Toro.

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