A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.
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 by the institute that Dr. Dreyfuss works for. Lucas... Written by
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.
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