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Mama (I) (2013)

PG-13  |   |  Horror  |  18 January 2013 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 125,011 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 298 user | 389 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

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?


(as Andy Muschietti)


(story) (as Andy Muschietti) , (story), 3 more credits »
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11 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lilly (as Isabelle Nelisse)
Daniel Kash ...
Jean Podolski / Mama (Voice)
David Fox ...
Dominic Cuzzocrea ...
Christopher Marren ...
Cop (as Chris Marren)
Diane Gordon ...
Young Cop


The senior partner of an investment brokerage, Jeffrey Desange, has a breakdown due to a financial collapse and kills several co-workers and his estranged wife. He then kidnaps his two young daughters, Victoria 3 and Lilly just 1. He drives his car recklessly through a winding snow covered road. He loses control of his car and drives off an embankment. He finds an abandoned and isolated cabin where he plans to kill his daughters, but the children are saved by a dark ghostly image. After five years of searching and depleting his savings, Jeffrey's twin brother, Lucas, finds the children that were raised without social interaction and claim that they have been raised by 'Mama'. Lucas disputes the custody with the children's Great Aunt but Dr. Dreyfuss, who is working with the girls, helps Lucas get custody of the girls so that he can still have access to them. Lucas, his girlfriend Annabel, Victoria and Lilly move into a house provided be the institute that Dr. Dreyfuss works for. Lucas... Written by Stephanie Carter

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A mother's love is forever.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence and terror, some disturbing images and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

18 January 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mamá  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$28,402,310 (USA) (18 January 2013)


$71,588,220 (USA) (29 March 2013)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Screenplay is written by brother-sister tandem Andres and Barbara Muschetti, based on a short, titled the same and also created by them. See more »


When Jessica takes Dr Dreyfuss' laptop from his office the name Vaio can be clearly seen on the top, but when she is looking at the laptop at home the name is not there. See more »


Ron: [Finding the girls] Burnsie! Can we call them now!
See more »


References Cobra Woman (1944) See more »


Written by Junkie XL (as T. Holkenborg), J. Stevens, F. Xavier and M. Sharrad
Performed by Junkie XL
Courtesy of Roadrunner Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Interesting angle, still scary.
17 January 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When sisters Lily and Victoria are left in the woods after a series of horrific events leaves them orphaned, how would they survive for the next five years until they are eventually rescued? Have no fear, Mama is here. The debut feature from Spanish director Andres Muschietti has some plot hole, but still delivers the goods in a scary, almost poignant way.

In Mama, there are similarities to the American version of The Ring in the way some of the scenes are shot in that grainy, static, antiquated, black and white style. Horror/ghost film fans might think parts of the film are clichéd and they would be correct. However, the two sisters in the film (played by Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nelisse) make for interesting viewing. As Victoria and Lilly, the two are feral creatures having lived in the wild the bulk of their lives. Even after being taken in by their uncle (Game Of Thrones' Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau, Lilly still prefers to run around on all fours, eat with her hands while on the floor, and sleep under her bed. Her speech is relegated to growls and grunts with a few words mixed in. Her big sister, Victoria has a faster time assimilating to the civilized world. She even begins to cozy up to her uncle's punk rock girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain).

What makes Mama work is the relationship between the female characters. Chastain ( Take Shelter, Zero Dark Thirty) has the lead role. She's the girlfriend, but becomes the unwilling stepmom to the two girls. The girls accept her to different degrees, but still cling to each other first and foremost. They also cling to "Mama" and vice versa. Thus what you have is a battle of wills between the supernatural and the living world with the emotional and physical well being of two little girls hanging in the balance. Maybe the presence of Barbara Muschietti (sister of the director) as one of the producers and writers of the film had some influence on having women as the driving force.

In addition, Mama might feel and look like the style of Guillermo del Toro film. That could be because he executive produced the film. If you are familiar with his work, you can see his hand in guiding this maiden voyage. Even so, Mama stands on it's own merits. It's far from perfect. The acting, especially from the kids, some trippy and macabre imagery , and a bit of a twist might make you want to sleep with the lights on.

33 of 54 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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