July 20, 2013


Andres Muschietti, 2013

Directed by Muschietti and produced by notorious nightmare-inducer Guillermo del Toro. Lucas is eating through his life savings to find his long-lost nieces who were abducted years before when his brother abducted them after killing his wife and business partner. When they are finally found, he learns that they have become feral after being in the wild for so long. What he doesn't realize, is that they had some help with their survival. 

Mama is an imaginative effort with an original story. It pays tribute to some of the films in its category (Insidious, The Grudge, The Ring) while standing out on its own. The initial unpredictable nature of the two feral girls, Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse) almost create a second and third villain early in the film when they are discovered. You don't really know what they did to survive, or what skills they learned from "Mama". You know that with del Toro on board, you are going to be treated to some good visual features and this film does not disappoint in that department. There are some dream sequences where some really beautiful filters are used that almost give the shot a negative-like effect.

Good performances by most of the actors on board. Nikolaj Coster-Waldeu (Game of Thrones, Headhunters, Virtuality) is effective as the struggling artist uncle who takes the girls in. His girlfriend Annabel, played by Jessica Chastain, was clearly a miscast. Anyone that has seen her in Zero Dark Thirty knows she can act. She just needs to be in the right role, and that is not as the self-serving, rough around the edges Goth-girl. The film drags a bit in the end, and the final scene felt a bit imitative. But overall, the film supplies some good scares and is paced quite well. 

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