I’d been wanting to see this film for a while and decided to rent it on Amazon last night.
Mama was directed by Andy Muschietti (based upon his Spanish-language film of the same name) and credited Guillermo del Toro as Executive Producer. Mama is a ghost story of sorts and doesn’t really bring much to the table that has not been done before. The film stars Jessica Chastain (The Help, Zero Dark Thirty) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (best known as Jaime Lannister on the HBO series Game of Thrones) as a young couple who takes in two feral girls, the man’s nieces.
The story begins with a man (portrayed by Coster-Waldau) killing his business partners and his wife, then loading his two young daughters into the car and driving off, reckless and distraught. Crashing the car on a snowy road, he carries his daughters through the woods until they come to a decrepit old abandoned cabin, at which point we watch him as he struggles with the thought of killing himself and his daughters. Without giving away too much in the way of spoilers, he is stopped by Mama, and the daughters remain alive. Cut to five years later and the two girls are now feral and living alone in the cabin, discovered by a tracker hired by their father’s brother (also played by Coster-Waldau).
If you’ve seen the trailers, you know that Mama is some sort of “entity” that has followed the girls from the woods to their uncle’s house. She is a bit creepy, reminiscent of some of the creeps in Japanese horror films; but I have to give credit to the casting director for finding a little girl (Isabelle Nélisse, who plays Lilly) who at times creeped me out even more than Mama did.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie. As I said above, there was not much in this film that has not been done in previous horrors or psychological thrillers. Despite this, I thought the film was well-acted and beautifully shot, with just the right amount of light and shadow, some well-done sepia-toned “past” sequences, and beautiful locations. It was a simple, well-told ghost story, which was actually a nice break from extreme action and gore