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
Some Flaws but Overall a Creepy Film with a Great Lead Performance
*** (out of 4)
A couple (Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) take in their two young nieces five years after they were kidnapped by their father and spent the majority of that time alone and in the wilderness. The two girls slowly start to come out of their state but it doesn't take long for the couple to realize that there's something else with them. MAMA is a feature length version of a short film by the director and for most part it's a successful horror film. There are a few problems that we'll get to but for the most part I thought director Andres Muschietti did a fine job at really creating a dark atmosphere that hangs around the entire film. He also managed to use this atmosphere and make it very effective during many of the scenes, which were quite creepy at times. I thought that really made the film stand out compared to so many other stories was the character played by Chastain. In most films like this you have the good person doing good deeds to protect the ones she loves. That's not the case here because her character doesn't want these girls, doesn't like how they've changed her life and there's not really any cute scenes. The character development here is something quite rare in horror films but I think it really works itself out nicely. As for Chastain, it's good that some of her caliber is here because a great performance really helps bring credit to the events in the film. The supporting players are good too and this is especially true of the two actresses playing the girls. Now, what really doesn't work in the film is the CGI "mama" character. I'm sorry but I really don't see why you have to have poor looking CGI bring a film down. Not only is the CGI rather poor but the ghost creation just does so many unrealistic things that you can't help but not be frightened of it. The director does a good job at building up the tension but once the creature actually comes it goes away. Still, MAMA is a pretty strong horror film that's not perfect but it's certainly good enough to watch.
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