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Just finished reviewing another film that was disappointing, and it
made me want to write a review for this one.
This was truly an excellent scary movie. The direction and filming created for some really great scares. I'm pretty jaded when it comes to scary shows. After you have seen enough of them you know most of the directors tricks, and you can see them coming. But for this movie, I was on the edge of my seat with tingles running up and down my back.
But what made this really great was the character development. A lot of these shows don't have any, but even some of the less important characters had development and motivation. Which is really key, you have to believe that this character will do this thing, not because it moves the plot along, but because of something in that individuals make up.
And the best part was, even the monster has this depth.
I only wish I could have seen this in the theater. It would definitely been worth the ticket price.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK so I know like a lot others I was confused when it came to what actually was going on in the movie. I know for one when mama took lily I was like "This is some BS". My dad, who unlike me was not covering eyes every time something popped out, explained it to me. If you actually watch the title sequence at the beginning of the movie you will see that lily was attacked by raccoons. She then got sick and actually died and in the drawings on the wall all this is shown. Of course I didn't think he was right till all the examples were pointed out. She was always super freakishly fast and never seemed to do normal things. She was eating the dead moths, jumping from second story windows unharmed, she was confused when the girlfriend blew warm air on her body because her being dead her body was cold, she never seemed to heal up and always had some form of scratches or bruises on her body, and she stayed outside in the cold all night. It's sad but true. If you go back and watch in one scene the doctor shows a clip of the girls asleep. Victoria is asleep in the bed but Lily is in the corner with her knees to her chest and her head turned at an unnatural angle and white glowing eyes. It all makes since. So all in all mama taking her at the end was I guess justified because she knew she didn't belong with them. Lily was almost only there to make sure Victoria was safe before moving on. One question I still have though is why Mama slung her own baby's remains off the cliff like some garbage. It all worked out in the end I guess.
Parenthood is supposed one of life's greatest pleasures. Who doesn't
love the idea of bringing a life into the world and watching it grow?
Of course, there is more than one way to start a family. Some adopt,
but normally that's done through an agency. But what if you have a
sibling who disappeared, leaving you their kids? And let's say these
kids have spent a few years in the woods and act like animals. Sounds
like a nice idea for a Horror film. Too bad the one it's used in is
such a letdown.
Pros: Well acted, with the two girls being especially good. Eerie score. Concept with potential. Some creepy imagery. Equally unnerving atmosphere. Flawed, but ballsy ending.
Cons: Some weak characterizations. Some pedestrian dialogue. A couple subplots that go nowhere. Uneven pacing. Repetitive. Though different, the ending is a letdown, partly because of the monster of the title.
Final thoughts: There were a number of things working in this film's favor. Guillermo Del Toro was involved, it's not another remake, the trailer and more made this look like a good time at the movies. Alas, this is sadly a half-baked affair with only a handful of goodies. It's nice that they tried something different with an old formula, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
My rating: 2/5
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
.. Except only certain memorable vividly creepy scenes. The ending is
sincerely poorly thought of (or not thought of) and ruins an overall
otherwise real good horror movie!
Some scenes were really good however, with a good connection development portrayed with the central characters especially the woman who for a film titled 'Mama' seems highly relevant. Her bonding with the girls gradually increases over time and is a good depiction of how human comfort can change you... with the occasional exception of a haunting of course.
Now for the real downside: the ending. As abrupt and poorly construed as the outcome itself... not satisfying for either a veteran horror fan (such as myself) or otherwise. There is no closure you'd attain at the end, which is unfortunately really considering how the movie has a real good build up of intensity and tension over time, only to fail colossally at the end. It's almost as if the budget was covered and they had to wrap up the project ASAP.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mama is one of the most recent in a spate of decent and atmospheric
supernatural horror movies that have been coming out for the last few
years. Along with Insidious, it shows that you do not need a ton of
gore and violence to make a good horror film.
Mama is the story of Annabel (Jessica Chastain), a rather aimless young woman who has no great plans in life except to bum around the apartment of her boyfriend Jeffrey (Nicolas Coaster-Waldau), an aspiring artist and play bass in a garage punk band.
This all changes when Jeffrey gains custody of his two nieces, who had disappeared in rather lurid circumstances. Jeffrey's twin brother, Lucas (Coster-Waldau again in a dual role) murdered his co-workers and estranged wife, abducting his daughters and disappeared on a mountain road.
Five years later, a pair of professional trackers find the two girls living feral in a deserted cabin with Lucas after Lucas died under mysterious circumstances.
The older Girl, Victoria, was found to have retained her speaking and socialization skills, while the younger girl, Lilly was almost totally animalistic. When questioned about their living conditions, Victoria states that they were cared for by a mysterious entity that they referred to only as "Mama".
The film is told completely from Annabel's point of view and Chastain does a good job portraying her ambivalence in suddenly becoming a defacto Mother while showing her frustrations in her attempt to bond with the girls.
Spanish writer/director Andres Muschietti does a deft job of ratcheting up the tension when Annabel realizes that Victoria and Lilly weren't the only beings that were in the cabin.
All in all, I found this film do be a decent attempt to take a hoary old story (caretaker of children in a haunted house) and update it with emotional realism and gravitas. The feral children scenario is unique and fascinating and when the movie sticks with that theme, it's nearly flawless
Unfortunately, the entire story seems to derail in the last act and becomes a ludicrous concoction of plot holes, overwrought melodrama and morally problematic decisions.
The ending consists of Annabel being faced with a "Sophie's Choice" situation of sacrificing one child or both to the vengeful spirit of Mama. Finally, she basically accepts the situation as a no-win and gives one child over to Mama.
I applaud the filmmaker's gutsy decision and have no problem with such a downbeat ending on principle. I just find the actual EXECUTION of such an ending to be so ham-handed, it left me dissatisfied with a rotten taste in my mouth.
That aside, I think the movie was well worth at least a look. If one can overlook the rather silly ending, I think fans of ghost stories might find it diverting.
"The degree of raising a child is always greater than giving birth to
the child". The story of Mama deals with the same concept with powerful
story line and few chilling scenes. Annabel and Lucas finds takes the
custody of their nieces who were left in a deep-thick forest alone for
5 years after their father was killed by unidentified person. Drama
begins to unfold as they portrayed weird behavior during their stay in
Uncle's house and tell the story of how did they survive 5 years in the
black forest. From Guilermo Del Torro, Mama is a complete surprise as a
ghost movie. After a long time , I watched a horror movie with a very
powerful story. The film boast off some spine chilling moments along
with great visualization. Cinematography is excellent along with good
art direction. The film looses the steam in the later half but is
compensated with strong climax. Jessica Chastian is dependable and
gives a great performance. kid actors did fine job to their role.
Overall , Mama is a perfect get away for the horror movie lovers. Good 3/5
Guillermo Del Toro is certainly no small time director. Involved in
epics such as 'Hellboy', 'Megamind' and 'Kung Fu Panda', Del Toro has
experience in vast amounts of genres and the Spaniard is no stranger to
horror with work entailed in 'Julia's Eyes', 'The Orphanage' and 'The
Devil's Backbone'. So how does he fair here, collaborating with the
Muschietti's over how to produce the anticipated horror 'Mama'.
When a psychologically deranged man murders several of his working colleagues before doing the same to his wife, he whisks his children away with him in the back of his car, driving off in a seething rage. Out of control, he steers off course towards an abandoned cabin in the middle of the woods. Rounding his children inside he prepares to shoot himself - possibly even his children - until a spiritual being intervenes.
Five years later, the children remain missing and their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) is determined not to give up the search. However, when he finally finds them with girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain), they may have picked up more than they bargained for.
'Mama' begins excellently, full of mystery and suspense as we are brought together with an intriguing story line. After the early prologue and approximately twenty minutes of foundation building, rhetorical questions develop in your head and shivers begin to tingle up your spine. At this point, Mama (voiced by Jane Moffat) herself is full of mystery; we know so little about her and this is why she is so creepy.
The film begins to fall into decline when it unravels. When you see Mama in her true form - yes it looks a little freaky - but not nearly as scary as before when you didn't know what to expect. This gripe also links to her looking too unrealistic. The CGI is good but looks too out of place in in the film.
Other negatives include the black humour which allows you a breathing space to emit your terror away from yourself. It just gives you that breathing space - if you are so terribly terrified - to remember it is just a movie.
However, my main frustration is the appalling ending which is utterly ridiculous and farcical! Jessica Chastain was superb in her role as the first-time child minder Annabel while Megan Charpentier was equally as good as Victoria - the two main stand-out performances in a decent cast set-up.
A fantastic story of a compassion and love. Even beyond the grave Mama's heart never stopped beating for those she loved. Through the veil this loving spirit raised two children as a single ghost to live and express themselves creatively in life through song and art. A true coming of age film about growing up and knowing when to let go of the parental guidance we have all experienced at some point. To start making your own decisions in life, to become more independent whist simultaneously remembering the loved ones who have guided you to this point. To become your own person. A must see for all mother's and daughters. Hands down a contender for a modern day cinematic canon. Five starts.
I don't want to write too much about this movie's plot. I will say -
don't watch a late showing... you won't want to go home in the dark
after watching this one.
The movie MAMA proves why imaginatively-written supernatural horror movies are so much better than the "slasher" genre of movie. MAMA is creepy, dark and totally unpredictable. The special effects are incredible.
Pay close attention to everything that's going on in the foreground - and especially the background, in every moment of every scene of this film.
And don't watch it alone...
Originally seeing the trailer I thought this was a great concept and an
interesting idea, I was really excited for this but when I actually saw
it in theatres I was a little less than pleased.
The children are by far the best actor's in the film, playing the role of animalistic kids fairly well but this also leads to a lot of laughable moments as they appear more like Gollum than anything truly scary. The movie is very laughable sadly, the appearances of Mama with her head half out of the floorboard looks like somebody put a wig on a roomba and let it scoot around.
The film goes really down hill during that dream sequence, as it appears to be a video game cut scene out of a FPS Rail shooter, the over use of CGI in a terribly contrived ending makes the movie feel like it's running 20 minutes too long.
Also, having a jump scare a minute and twenty seconds in doesn't help your case.
It was a fairly decent attempt for a first theatrical release from the director but hopefully his next projects are a little better.
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