Directed by Andrés Muschietti
Written by Andrés Muschietti, Niel Cross, Barbara Muschietti
2013, 99 minutes, Rated 15
DVD released on 17th June 2013
Jessica Chastain as Annabel
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Lucas / Jeffrey
Megan Charpentier as Victoria
Isabelle Nélisse as Lilly
Daniel Kash as Dr Drefuss
Javier Botet as Mama
Guillermo del Toro is a horror fan. If we were ever lucky enough to run into him in the pub, we’d probably have a lot to chat about. We could start by doing the Die-Hard Horror Fan Super Secret Handshake (you know the one, right?) and then discuss which horror movies have made us hide under the covers lately. He’d likely suggest a few under-valued tites for our ‘must watch’ list too, because he’s a director who keeps his eyes open. Mama is movie proof of this horror passion. After seeing Andrés Muschietti’s creepy short of the same name, he was so enthralled that he fast-tracked it to the big screen, taking on producer duties in the process. If there’s a better reason to pick up a camera and start shooting, we're yet to hear it.
Mama tells the dark tale of two young girls who are abandoned in a decrepit woodland cabin after their troubled father Jeffrey murders their mother during an insanity spree. Seconds before he can do the unspeakable act of killing his young daughters, the girls are saved by a dark and mysterious entity that pulls their confused dad into the shadows never to be seen again. Instead of dooming three year old Victoria and infant Lilly to a ghostly death, they’re instead embraced by this witch-like creature and gifted a very unusual surrogate mother. Cut to five years later and the frustrating randomness of these events still plagues Jeffrey’s twin brother Lucas, who’s dedicated his time (and wallet) to locating his young nieces. When Victoria and Lilly are suddenly rediscovered, unnaturally feral and completely detached from reality, it’s left to Lucas and his rock-chick girlfriend Annabel to pick up the pieces.
Scuttling around like eerily contorted crabs; the girls prove to be quite a handful for this previously kid-less couple. Things go from bad to worse when the clingy ghost mum known to the little ones as ‘Mama’ refuses to go down without a fight. When Lucas is temporarily knocked out of the picture, the responsibility-shy Annabel is forced into a reluctant mum war with a very otherworldly matriarch. As the edge of your seat scares start to flow, Mama’s tragic history unravels leading towards a chilling and unavoidable climax.
Hot off 2010’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Del Toro continues to push his goal of bringing the supernatural into mainstream horror. This latest effort, while leaps and bounds ahead of the aforementioned Dark, fails to capture the alluring magic of those he’s helmed himself. Muschietti handles the budget jump with aplomb, confidently creating a gothic air that lingers throughout and makes you forget it’s his first full length feature. It may be weighed down by a slightly bloated run-time but its eyebrow raising ending is sure to please all those who love a good modern ghost story.
Video and Audio:
Perfect, had no problems with either!
There's a few interesting things on here. The original Mama short movie complete with a introduction by del Toro, some deleted scenes, The Birth of Mama featurette, a mini doc focusing on the movie's visual effects (Blu-ray only) and a commentary by director/writer/producer team Andy and Barbara Muschietti.