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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
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Horror has been one of the least appreciated film genres nowadays for relying nothing more than the excessive amount of violence and repetitive jump scares, plodding the storytelling by its completely lifeless characters who are ready to get killed. Mama is something else however it still has those horror movie clichés, like those easy loud jump scares and some ghostly pathos, but there is a fascinating concept behind the scares that leaves the audience a beautiful story than just a cheap horror shock. It also has a set of strong performances and solid production. It could have been much genuine in being scary than simply loud but Mama is still one of the great horror films we got in a while.
Unlike most modern horror films, this movie's ambition is to tell a compelling story. Obviously there is a hidden emotion beneath the concept, but before we get to that, it explores around the characters and the gloomy atmosphere. Rather than throwing a horrific death scene to show fear, it scatters some symbolic objects that indicate the presence of the titular monster. It's a fascinating trick of manifesting its mysteries and fear. What defy the odds of the genre are the characters. They are not only ought to get scared. This is a rare set of modern horror characters that possesses a genuine soul. The performances handle them terrifically. There is a lot of remarkable performance to talk about but anyway. It's not only about the scares. It finely balances the drama to the darkness of the story. Personally, it's kind of more interesting when it simply tells the story of the two kids and the Mama ghost even though it features a horror cliché of ghosts telling their past to the central character. In the end, we'll realize the film actually offers more to the picture.
The only largest misstep they had is the excessive amount of loud jump scares. Though, they can be effective at some point. They still used some other ways of scaring the audience, like mimicking the clever horror trick of "The Orphanage" and letting the character be alone exploring the creepiness going on. It could have lingered on those parts to feel the danger of the characters, but instead they immediately send off a loud jump scare because it works to everyone. The film uses some CGI which made the monsters look a bit awkward but they are decent enough. Everything looks great in general. The cinematography and the production are a total pay off. It's just beautiful to look at.
Mama turns out to be pretty good. At glance, it doesn't look like the kind of horror film we usually thought about but furthermore we get to realize it is beyond than we should expect. The clichés still exists but they are used in a better way. Putting aside those cheap scares, it's a refreshing story that is indeed worth telling. It's still far from classic but it is also far from generic and annoying like most horror films we get these days. The performances and the filmmaking give more to the experience. Mama is the kind of horror film that abandons the gruesome acts and rather shows its dark aspects in a quite endearing way.
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