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I Loved It
hannah-ladwig22 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Whenever I see a movie that I get really excited about, I seek out reviews from professional critics and fellow fans. Often times they will point out things that I may not have noticed and it's exciting to feel connected to someone through art. When I find lots of negative reviews I begin to feel a sort of let down. I wonder if my opinion was "wrong", or why I'm the only one who liked it. Keep in mind; I'm an 18-year-old girl, so I have not yet grown out of such thoughts. I am also not an authority on film. Everything I know, I learnt from reading Roger Ebert and watching lots and lots of movies. However, this movie really stuck with me. I saw it 2 days ago and I still can't stop thinking about it. I decided to take a page out of Ebert's book and explain why I loved it (instead of just saying "it's awesome"). Here's why: 1. The Children: I'm a sucker for kids in movies, especially when they actually get to act like kids. The 1-year-old Lily and 3-year-old Victoria are so beautiful that they tug at your heartstrings without even trying. They were well cast. 6-year old Lily and 8-year-old Victoria were truly phenomenal little actresses. Megan Charpentier (already a seasoned veteran with previous credits including Jennifer's Body, Red Riding Hood, and Resident Evil: Retribution) handles this heavy subject matter with maturity and poise. She manages to balance innocence with experience. She has been traumatized by her past, maybe her heart is a little harder than the average 8-year-old (if it wasn't, she wouldn't have survived all that time), but we still get glimpses of the little girl who just wants a mommy. Isabelle Nélisse is (in my opinion) genius as little Lily. I think CGI must have been used to make her movements appear more animalistic, but a child of her age maintaining such seriousness is riveting to watch. When she plays with her toys, it's like watching an actual feral child in a documentary (I repeat, it is LIKE watching a feral child, not IDENTICAL to).

2. The "Parents": Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau as the uncle (and uncle's girlfriend) of the little girls are very well cast. I was a bit sceptical of Jessica Chastain's "rocker chick" look, but she brings such life and courage to her character that you actually see her as a bass player, instead of a classically beautiful Hollywood star trying to look like a bass player. I had never heard of Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau before this film. I love how much he loves the girls. His caring for them is so sincere and honest. You truly believe that he is the kind of guy who would spend 5 years (and money he doesn't have) on the hope that his nieces might still be alive. He is a loving father figure who doesn't get as much time with the girls as her should (in my humble opinion).

3. Mama: The demon/spirit/ghost/entity/whatchamacallit of Mama was created using CGI and a very tall, thin actor. Many audience members laughed when Mama first came in to full view. I agree that she looked a little funny. Her hair was really weird and anti-gravity (like Mama in the short film) and her face was oddly asymmetrical. However, I think that she was perfect. Just the right amount of creepy and sad. This is one of the only horror movies in existence that causes the audience to feel real sympathy for the evil villain.

4. The Director: I admire Andrés Muschietti for taking so many risks. It is rare to find a filmmaker today who will go against what the audience may want. He didn't use any fake scares; the situation was scary enough on its own. There are brilliant moments of natural humour that were so refreshing. He did not mock his characters or the situation, but he found the string of comedy that was there already and used it to his advantage. How many times have you been having a miserable day, and then just stopped and started laughing about how everything went wrong? That is the humour of Mama.

5. The Story: Part of the reason that I love horror movies is that they aren't bound by the usual visionary constraints of, say, Italian neo-realism films. Tragic stories are exciting and implausible all at the same time. I think that this was a very original take on a story of mother-daughter bonding. Of course there's no such thing as a "completely original story", but there is such thing as a completely original vision. The story affected me very deeply. I'm still trying to come to terms with how it ended.

6. Using Clichés Effectively: There are a lot of clichés involved in making a horror film. There are only so many ways to introduce the plot line of a supernatural being. This genre requires stock characters, and they do their jobs well. They use some of my favourite scare tactics (using a camera as a light source, unexpected appearances by the entity, etc...). Those particular clichés are necessary. Would you really want to see a Jim Carrey comedy where he uses dry humour and no body language? Or a Baz Luhrman film with dull colours and understated characters? Clichés are not always a bad thing.

This is why I loved this film. Agree or disagree, but you can't say I didn't think it through.

Take care, -Hannah
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The Mothmom Possibly.
Spikeopath12 March 2014
Mama is directed by Andres Muschietti and written by Muschietti, Barbara Muschietti and Neil Cross. It stars Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nelisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet and Jane Moffat. Music is by Fernando Velazquez and cinematography by Antonio Riestra.

A Suicidal father abducts his two young daughters and takes them to a cabin out in the woods, his intention is to kill them. Before he can enact his plan he is killed by a strange entity, leaving the two girls alone in the cabin. Years later the girls are discovered in the cabin, completely feral and when any sense can finally be made out of them, they talk of being looked after by someone they call Mama; And it seems Mama has come back with them to civilisation…

Based on his own 2008 Argentinian short of the same name, Andres Muschietti expands the idea out to a full length feature film. With pretty decent results as well. Pic is a supernatural fairytale, thick on ethereal atmosphere and not over reliant on boo jumps or an adherence to blood and guts spilling just to put bums on seats. From the moment the girls are found, scampering around the wood cabin on all fours, clearly having survived on cherries for five years, there's an uneasy feel to the story. We already know there is a spirit involved as we half glimpsed "Mama" during the pre-credits sequence, what we need now is a good story and a healthy quota of frights and peril for Waldau and Chastain as they become surrogate parents to the troubled youngsters; And again, Mama mostly delivers all that is required of it for a good night in by the fire whilst perched on the edge of your seat.

Chastain is excellent as the punk rock chick reluctantly mothering two children before her time, the two girls, Charpentier and Nelisse, are also top draw, exuding the sadness and confusion that children of that age would obviously be feeling under these circumstances. While their reactions to what we ourselves can't see, via glances or hushed exchanges, has a creepiness to it that delivers a bucket load of dread. Muschietti's direction is very stylish, not only does he marshal his principal cast members with great skill, he shows some ingenuity in scene staging with one sequence particularly brilliant as Chastain does housework and the younger of the girls plays with Mama in the bedroom, we know it, even though we can only see the wee bairn. The soundtrack and score is suitably screechy, and the cinematography by Riestra has Gothic tints to it.

Why Mama is not a bona fide entry in the upper echelons of horror is mainly due to an annoying mistake that so many horror genre film makers make, namely showing too much of the spook. There is a point around the hour mark where "Mama" herself just stops being scary, a shame because the effects work isn't half bad. There's other, less itchy problems, such as Waldau being reduced to a bit player from the mid-point, a sub-plot involving Kash's Dr. Dreyfuss just feels like set-up material, while the ending is sure to be a bit too WTF for some. That said, this is good genre cinema for those who like The Woman in Black type of thrills and story telling. 7.5/10
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Begins with a lot of promise, but ends with an unsatisfying note
estebangonzalez106 May 2013
¨A ghost is an emotion bent out of shape, condemned to repeat itself time and time again.¨

Another South American director has made his splash on Hollywood after the successful debut of Mama in theaters this year. Argentinean director, Andres Muschietti, made over 70 million dollars in the box office and received decent reviews for this horror/suspense film based on a short 3 minute movie he directed in 2008. That short film garnered the attention of movie executives such as Guillermo Del Toro who decided to produce and present this film. The fact that Del Toro's name was used here and that the coveted Jessica Chastain signed on to play the main character gave Muschietti the tremendous possibility of debuting on a high note. The formula worked pretty well because critics and audiences seemed to enjoy this film alike, and we could be heading to the start of a new horror franchise. I enjoyed most of the movie, and loved Jessica Chastain's performance, but the ending just ruined the entire film for me. It is kind of the same problem pretty much every ghost story film has. I feel like most of the endings in this genre are pretty unsatisfying and ruin the entire suspense the film has been building throughout the story. There is no denying that Japanese films have heavily influenced the genre with films such as The Ring, The Grudge, Dark Water, and One Missed Call which have all been remade, but the truth of the matter is the only film that really worked with critics was The Ring. They have tried to imitate its success, but I haven't been scared like I was with The Ring, which had a pretty satisfying ending compared to the rest. I do prefer this type of psychological horror more than the gory slasher films, but I find it troubling that they can't find a satisfying ending. My favorites in this genre will always be the first two I saw: Zemeckis's What Lies Beneath and The Ring. The rest have all fallen short. Mama was close to achieving that similar success in my opinion, but the ending really hurt it.

The film centers around two girls named Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse) and Victoria (Megan Charpentier) who are abandoned in a cabin in the middle of the woods after their father murdered their mother and was attacked by some presence inside the cabin. Five years later the search finally pays off and their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) finds them. To everyone's surprise the two girls have managed to survive on their own, but they live like animals crawling around the floor and talking to walls. Lucas and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain) decide to raise the kids with the help of Dr. Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash) who continues to treat the girls in order for them to make the transition from their isolated lives to a normal and nurturing family life. Annabel soon discovers that these girls might have never been on their own and that somehow the presence that was with them in the cabin might be in their home as well. Several suspenseful and horrifying events begin to take place while the girls continue to talk to shadows in the walls and call out for Mama.

The film has several thrills and suspenseful moments with a great performance from Jessica Chastain. It was good to see her try out a different role and she proves she can do about everything. It's hard to find good performances in horror films, but this may be one of the best. The movie also has its weaknesses like pretty much all horror films do considering the protagonists always seem to make stupid decisions, but that is what makes the genre so entertaining at times. They are clichés which we have learned to accept. The two girls were also surprisingly good, they had strong performances as well. I really enjoyed everything about the movie up to the last 15 minutes which pretty much ruined everything. Psychological thrillers usually have this impact: they begin with a lot of promise but end up on the wrong note, and that is exactly how I felt about Mama along with Sinister, a similar movie I got to see a few months ago. The film is above average thanks to Jessica Chastain, and Guillermo Del Toro's influence in the production of the movie, but that is about it.
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Just missed by an inch of an fraction to become a classic.loved it
joy-jsmith16 March 2013
I am a big fan of horror but recently i cant remember a movie which i enjoyed to my heart but then i saw MAMA and it was like a fresh air which u asked from a long long time. What makes MAMA special and different is it's Story and Acting.Not many horror movies has it now a days but MAMA has it all..a beautiful and emotional film with great horror elements to back it.The performance from Jessica Chastain is mind blowing.when the movie starts I didn't seem to connect with her character but as soon as the movie progressed she just blown my mind with her screen presence and screen fit performance.few places r just brilliant like the one where she finds lily outside of the house and she brings her in but Lily tries to escape but the she holds he tight and make her feel that she loves her from within and Lily starts looking at her with innocence and Jessica hold her hands blow air on them and ask Lily that "dose she liked it" moved me and i was just speechless watching it.Just little more detailing would have turned it into a classic for life.but never then less its one of the finest horror film I watched in decades.

Highly recommended.Loved it!
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A Nutshell Review: Mama
DICK STEEL18 January 2013
The title may be tacky, but this Canadian-Spanish co-production, with Guillermo del Toro lending his name as producer, is one of the better horror films to have come out from the West in recent years, despite being filled with the usual clichés, actually contain a proper story, and delivered really well in terms of chills, thrills and everything that's necessary to creep you out and make you jump at your seat. Co-written and directed by Andres Muschietti, Mama shows how it boils down to story, building upon his short film of the same name some 5 years ago, and a solid cast to gloss over the expected bag of tricks.

Many of the clichés were put to good effect, which in some ways you'd come to expect certain things to happen in a certain way, and they did. While it may be blunted in terms of anticipation and build up, it didn't shy away from delivering that sucker punch when required, and kept good work in framing and editing for maximum impact when the moment called for the unabashed dip into tried and tested elements. One thing you'll note is how assured Muschietti's direction is, as if doing it all for the very first time, with the aim of wanting to stir up its scares really well. Liberal use of CG also helped, but never done in slip-shoddy fashion, which added a layer of positive production values to the film.

I mean, there's creepy children, a ghoul that gate-crashes a reunion of sorts, and the usual spooky house no thanks to noises during strange timings, and the rote blinking of lights. All ingredients that you've seen utilized to the death in various horror film productions, but coming together really well in Mama, playing to the strengths of these elements while fiercely ignoring the negativity associated with lazier filmmakers who just slap these elements together, expecting them to work. It's not a special effects extravaganza when it's not required, and Mama showed just how its story and characters were allowed to lead, rather than to have strangely illogical moments, even for a horror film, fall coincidentally into place.

Jessica Chastain may be the latest IT girl in Hollywood, and it's encouraging to note she's really going all out to take on various roles in different genres, despite her more recent art house leanings of late. Here, she's the quintessential scream queen, albeit only just, given her role of Annabel being a rock star wannabe, sporting almost full body tattoos that betray a rather soft demeanour, when her maternal instincts get called upon to look after the nieces of her boyfriend Lucas (Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau). They were found after having disappeared for five years, which the opening sequence and credits would have pointed to an unnatural upbringing under the hands of the titular Mama ghoul. Battling for custody, it is with reluctance that the couple take the children under their wing, probably because Annabel knows she'll eventually be dumped with the kids, which did happen.

And the entire middle act is when the fun begins, for fans of horror films forking out good money to be entertained with the roller coaster ride of scares. Muschietti and his story collaborators Neil Cross and Barbara Muschietti managed to keep an entire back story up their sleeves, to reveal them in teasing fashion, which worked to keep you engaged throughout. And credit must go to Muschietti and his DP Antonio Riestra for having framed the initial introduction to the ghoulish elements that went for maximum WTF surprises, especially with sleight of hand techniques that didn't jar the narrative, nor relied on the necessity of a jump cut edit to hammer home its creepier moments. It grows, slowly, and that's one master stroke Mama had that worked wonders.

This is the second film in a row that had its child actors provide top notch performances. Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nelisse play sisters, who with the aid of CG move around complete with unnatural mannerisms, having it in term to creep you out, before having to develop their characters into emotional cores that added a lot more depth to this film as it steamrolls its way to the finale. Andres Muschietti is the name to watch now for taking something that's expected to be cliché in a horror film, but fulfilled more than you'd bargain for. A definite recommend!
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A Fantastic Film Experience
sbentz-593-52989127 January 2013
I went into this film with high expectations. I am a horror movie junkie, despite their general lack of critical acclaim. They should be entertaining, even if they don't give you nightmares. After first viewing the trailer over the summer (rolling in for The Possession), I eagerly anticipated the January release. Seeing that Guillermo del Toro's name was attached to the project made me even more giddy. I saw it opening night.

I was not disappointed. Not in the slightest. In fact, I was happier with the movie than I intended to be. Believe me, that's saying something.

Not one scared by stories themselves, but solely by moments that utilize the element of surprise, I have never jumped out of my skin more times during a single film than I did for "Mama." That pretty much makes it the scariest movie that I have ever seen. However, seeing as different things scare different people, that is most likely not the same for everyone. If you aren't a jumper, don't worry, it's still very much worth it.

The story is not your typical ghost story. It has a terrific exposition to settle you into the film's focus. The situation is solitary enough that you won't yourself experience it, but isn't so far-fetched that it's unbelievable. The characters are both likable and flawed, which gives them dimension and makes them more interesting. And the girls are adorable, but not so cute that it detracts from the terror. As you can see, the film is very much balanced. A good film needs that balance.

As far as scares go, some are quite subtle. A few you don't particularly realize are happening until something changes, and you're caught off-guard. Seeing that the premise is supernatural, the idea of an elusive antagonist is key. You can't see too much of what you're supposed to be afraid of, and for the majority of the movie, you don't. The cloud of mystery surrounding Mama herself is hauntingly beautiful, and will both demonize and delight you. By the time you finish it, you will most likely feel both happy and sad, and will not know where your emotions should be.

I highly recommend "Mama" to anyone, because it is not your stereotypical horror movie. Its distinct lack of gore, and high level of well-crafted story, makes for an exciting experience for both horror lovers, and those who don't necessarily appreciate the genre. If you get the chance to watch it, take it immediately. If you aren't given the chance to watch it, make the chance yourself.
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Mama delivers the terror while building a exceptional story for a horror film.
themoviejunkie9119 January 2013
"MAMA", a film executively produced by Del Toro follows the story of two little girls that are found in the wilderness for five years. They are then adopted by their Uncle Luke (Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain)and right off the bat, strange things start happening. While trapped in the woods, Victoria (Megan Charpentier)and Lily (Isabelle Nelisse) formed a guardian to protect and care for them, who they call Mama.

This is an excellent movie. Be warned that it does remain dependant on jump scares to scare you, but they are what I like to call "true jump scares". Not a cat bursting out of a corner, or a shoe falling from the sky. "Mama" utilizes CGI by creating dark, disturbing images along with a tense orchestral sound track to scare your pants off. The acting was also superb, particularly Jessica Chastain and Megan Charpentier. Isabelle was solid also, but I had a feeling that before every take, she was told what to do, but Megan was old enough to understand the script and story. Something that really impressed me was how the story unfolded, and how beautifully the mother daughter relationship was portrayed. The cinematography was also one of the most beautiful jobs I've ever seen on a horror film. Camera work was steady and the dolly shots were smooth and suspenseful. Overall, Mama was a terrifying horror movie with a beautiful story and wonderful camera work. I hope this movie is recognized as a classic for years to come. This movie also proves that PG-13 horror movies can be scary after all. 9/10.
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Amending The Horror Story
billygoat107118 February 2013
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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Mama has flaws, but great concept
cblakeJoey19 January 2013
I really liked this movie and the concept for it was original. I think this film makes the viewer think about what the characteristics are of being a mother. What sort of instincts we as woman can display and what kind of connections can be made with a child, even if you're a terrifying ghost.

Del Toro will always put his name on a good thriller surrounding small children. This movie had all the thrills of a scary movie and the elements fright used in the film had everyone in my theater on the edge of the seat. The movie waist no time getting into the meat of the story.

There are flaws in the film and it does have to do with plot holes. The director could have worked these holes out with other Del Toro perhaps. The back story had the hugest gap of all.

Regardless, it was better than 'Don't be Afraid of the Dark', and I will be seeing this film again.
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Interesting angle, still scary.
MediaPanther17 January 2013
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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Another promising concept falls apart
toddg-473-28981810 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I was hoping there would be a way to write this review without adding any spoilers, but the ending of this movie is so awful that it is unavoidable. "Mama" is the story of two young girls who are abandoned in the forest for five years, and are discovered then brought back to civilization with the hope of rehabilitating and reintroducing them to a normal life. What is largely unseen for most of the movie is what the children describe as "Mama", a ghostly creature that had watched over them during their abandonment, and who is now jealous of their new found family life.

What works in this movie are the strong performances by the young girls, unsure of their new environment, and trying in their own elementary way to explain to other adults who "Mama" is. And for most of the movie, we only get glimpses of "Mama", and the less-is-more visualization works for the audience. We learn through the research of the child psychiatrist assigned to the girls that "Mama" is really a woman from 1800's who killed herself and her infant after escaping from an insane asylum. We are told that ghosts from the past return and torment those in the present until some wrong is righted. This could have sufficed to end this movie with an acceptable conclusion - but this movie went too far, including the unnecessary death of one of the young girls at the end.

We see the wrong righted with the return of the skeleton of Mama's infant baby returned to Mama, reminiscent of the way that Johnny Depp tossed the head of the Headless Horseman to Christopher Walken in "Sleepy Hollow", leaving no further need for violence. But for reasons not easily explained, Mama felt the need to take one of the living children with her after she had gotten what she came for. Furthermore, when Mama is made visible to the adults and children at the end of the movie, she looked more cartoonish than scary, and became a caricature of the terrifying ghost represented earlier. A very disappointing ending to a film that showed promise.
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Visually Stunning and Emotionally Charged!
3xHCCH29 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
"Mama" is the first big horror film release of the year, so as a horror movie fan, I really wanted to watch this. It has the name of Guillermo del Toro, not as director as I first thought, but as a producer, so we expected fantastic visuals. I was pleasantly surprised to see Jessica Chastain there too, looking like I have not seen her before, sporting a short dark Joan Jett-hairstyle. This film really had a lot going for it.

"Mama" is a malevolent female spirit who jealously hounds the couple Annabelle (Jessica Chastain) and Luke (Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) who adopts a couple of young girls who had been found living wildly in an abandoned cabin in the woods. Throughout this movie, in the way of disturbing dreams and jarring apparitions, we join Annabelle try to discover what exactly "Mama" wants that she cannot seem to get.

First-time feature film director Andrés Muschietti succeeds to create a horror film that was visually stunning as it was emotionally charged. The stylish look may have been influenced by the producer, Guillermo del Toro. The emotional ride was largely due to the restrained yet effective performance of Jessica Chastain as a single rocker-chick who was suddenly given the unexpected and unwelcome responsibility of being a step-mother to two very disturbed girls.

The one drawback for me was "Mama" herself, particularly how she looked. I admit I did not really like how she reminded me so much of Sadako (of the "Ring" films) in all its obvious computer-generated glory. However, the camera angles used to show "Mama" and her point of view were quite innovative. There were gaping plot holes when you think the story through and try to give explanations to "Mama"'s illogical behavior. But hey, she is a crazy ghost after all! Just sit back, imbibe the creepy atmosphere and feel the emotion in the story.
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Newer isn't always better : how CGI turns horror into comedy
mloomis9219 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Let me start off by saying I never and i mean never post reviews but this movie was so bad I feel like it is my duty as a human being to warn the world of this abomination.

Where to start...OK lets start with the positives. The movie starts off as a respectable film and what appears to be an interesting concept at first. The acting is pretty good considering the script they had to work with. I want to clarify it is not the actors fault for how bad this movie is.

Now for the negatives, the movie starts to fall apart the more you see Mama and all of her computer generated glory. She looks like a distorted Sarah Jessica Parker but far less scary than the real SJP. Its really hard to be scared of something that looks so unreasonably fake! I mean Disney's the haunted mansion staring Eddie Murphy has scarier CGI. Saying everything scary happens in the trailer would be far too kind because it wouldn't mention all the hilariously bad moments where Mama and her victims just stare at the camera making goofy Neanderthal faces. The cgi (which i can not stress enough was a total joke) was not even the worst part. The plot that seemed original in the beginning turns out to be as generic as possible and one really lame ass ghost story. I can't decide the worst part of it all, it has to be either how unlikeable the main protagonist was or the egregiously bad ending/overall plot. The main protagonist is a "rock star" who is selfish at first and just an all around douche. She is completely self absorbed and immature and than just magically out of no where becomes a mother figure and loves these two girls and they some how love her after just 3 days. Once again the actors are not to blame, they did their jobs the best they could given what they had to work with.

**Spoiler** Overall summery of Mama's plot:

Two little girls are raised by a ghost who...yep you guessed as it is trying to make up for the child she lost. The girls are found and given a home and new family by their aunt and uncle. Uncle gets put in a comma and aunt who isn't quite ready to raise children is left to raise them and falls in love with them like 3 days later. they are haunted by what could be the lamest ghost since Bill Cosby as ghost dad. Oh whats this? Giving mama her real baby back makes her stop haunting us? No way!!! Mama goes away taking one of the girls but leaving the other for some reason but not before literally punching a hole in the uncles heart....but its OK some how hes totally fine. The end
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Some Flaws but Overall a Creepy Film with a Great Lead Performance
Michael_Elliott18 January 2013
Mama (2013)

*** (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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An Unforgettable Experience Brought By Muschietti, Del Toro and Chastain ! !
drakula200519 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
First of all, my fellow moviegoers and horror-fans, i must begin by saying, that, even in a decade's time, i doubt that my instant love for this film would have changed in any way.

Was it because of the wonderful work of the entire cast and crew on the film that struck me?Or even that rare feeling you get, when a film has been carefully nurtured with love and selflessness and raised up to be one of the best in the genre to come out for a good long while?Or is it the wonderful Jessica Chastain with a little mix of Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau's assuring performance as Lucas, and of course, Isabelle Nélisse's and Megan Charpentier haunting performances of Lilly and Victoria.

And once we are rolling and underway, Muschietti and Del Toro never really let us go.Their ideas, their intelligence and vision, along with some brilliant acting, made this film a special cinematic experience.

Suspense and horror wise the filmmakers have made a wise choice not to go with blood, gore and other clichés nowadays horrors are filled to the brim with.Another great choice is the masterful cast they have chosen-Chastain, Waldau the whole cast.And since i'm very fond of Chastain, i will get on the subject thoroughly in a moment.The film was shot in incredible style not revealing in the opening scenes and ,step by step, showing more and more, both story and emotional wise.Not only that, but with the titular character of Mama, we find more about her, we see more of her, and in the end, we experience what means being her, being all of them.This storytelling arc i found very suspenseful and the great character development in Annabel and Victoria, the bigger sister, lead up to the climax, which is very heavy on emotions, pain and a triumph of the director's extraordinary vision.

Which, in my humble opinion, leads to the strongest quality, that this film has in it's possession:the cast!!Game of Thrones's Waldau does a really solid job portraying Lucas, the uncle, who never gave up on his nieces and kept searching, when nobody else did, he never let go.

Isabelle Nélisse and Megan Charpentier are great playing the two wild, insecure, girls and manage to find the perfect line between this world and the civilization they are so reluctantly brought into by their uncle and his girlfriend.Although the word "girlfriend" is very misleading in this situation, it does no justice to the relationship between Chastain's Annabel and Waldau's Lucas at all.Throughout the whole movie we have seen real love and real human feeling, not just a bunch of teens sleeping together and fooling around which basically happens in every horror movie.But here, people are full-blooded, real, emotional, humane.So, they clearly love each other, after all Annabel stayed with him in order to help him raise his nieces, they moved in a new house together, she left her life of the tattooed, beer-drinking, guitar-playing, Rooney Mara-resembling woman, that was not yet ready to be a mother.At the end, Annabel has become so fond of the girls, that she takes the role of a real mother, caring, protecting and loving them, when Lucas in not around.She is risking her own life for them and is gifted with the love of the bigger sister, Victoria, in return, which ultimately proves to be at the center of the main conflict-the unconditional love of two mothers towards the two sisters, and the choice that they have to make.A real mother, or Mama-a hurt, but jealous ghost, with a history of her own, a mother, who is able to take a life in order to preserve it, a mother, who defended the two children for years in the wild, as if they were her own, but not a real, full-blooded mother at all...There is no right choice here, which means things are ultimately going to end bad in one way or another...

So, for those who were able to bear with me for so long, i'm going to wrap it all in a nutshell:this film is an experience, that needs to be seen, an experience, resembling a beautiful, but also painful story with no winners and real, human emotions.It reminds me of Nicole Kidman's The Others in a way...And being introduced to Jessica Chastain's warm and full-blooded portrayal of an otherwise clichéd character, that she shows has been played the wrong way all those years, is the most important experience for me.She was brilliant, and as i have grown to love Chastain for her roles in the past two years, for her devotion and skillfulness, she is the best choice for this role.If horror movies had more overall quality and were higher-regarded as movies not only made for the purpose of cheap jumps, but for enjoying a piece of film making of real cinematic value, in a world where scripts are better, Jessica Chastain could even get nominated for an Oscar among other high-profile awards for her mesmerizing and beautiful, yet humane portrayal of a forced-by-the-circumstances mother, ready to do anything to protect the ones she loves.

So, with the 1000-word limit upon me, for one of the best films in the genre for the last years and a wonderful film as a whole, this piece of devoted filmmaking and acting, will keep you mesmerized until the very end and you'll be discussing it even afterward.It definitely left an impression on me, and i can't wait to see the beautiful Chastain again, as soon as possible, as she has proved to be equally impressive and devoted in every genre she has worked in and every role she has taken.The one-two, that's shaping up at the U.S. box-office this weekend for her, proves she covers more cinematic ground than most, and that the future is bright in her presence!I wish her the Lead Actress Oscar this year, as she absolutely deserves it for her work on Zero Dark Thirty!

My rate:a deserved 10/10 !!!
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IMDb rating is far too high in my opinion
obiwankenobean17 January 2014
My girlfriend & I bought this DVD to watch one evening & we both could not get to grips with it, the story is too far-fetched & lacked any aspect that could draw the viewer in, there are few "jumpy bits". The only merit of this film is that the character "Mama" is a real person where the only changes are that his hair is CGI. Upon seeing the film on the shelf I turned to IMDb, as I usually do to see what the ratings are, most modern horrors tend to score relatively low but this seemed to have a respectable score which I think is ill-considered. Another film where a potential good idea has been poorly executed, I would not recommend this film to anybody, extremely annoyed that I paid £7 to own this.
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Just plain awful
jaxbubba2 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
If I had to summarize the review of this film into just two words, those words would have to be, "Gawd Awful" or "Pure Stupidity"; both statements equally and eloquently captivate the essence of unbelievable stench that this film exudes. Written and Directed by Andres Muschiette, it's actually quite comical to count how many times both he as his wife Barbara's names appear on the screen during the film's opening credits. Rated PG13, this film is further justification as to why you should not bother seeing horror movies geared toward younger tween audiences.

The film centers around two sisters, Victoria and Lilly. After their father shoots and kills his business partner and their mother, he flees the scene of the crime with the two siblings in tow. High speeds and icy roads lead to an auto accident in the middle of nowhere. This motley crew is able to find shelter in an abandon house in the middle of the woods; however, with no food or water, Jeffrey decides to shoot the siblings. Before Jeffrey can pull the trigger of his gun, an entity (Mama) sweeps into the house and whisks Jeffrey away to oblivion.

In the five years that follow, Jeffrey's brother Lucas is still seeking closure to the events which occurred has hired trackers to comb the surrounding woods in hopes of finding his lost brother and nieces. The trackers stumble upon the abandon cabin, where the two sisters (more animal than human) still reside. The authorities are notified, and after a lengthy child custody hearing the two siblings are placed with their Uncle Lucas, with visitation rights granted to his sister-in-law Jean, and child counseling sessions arranged with Dr. Dreyfuss. As you may assume with a film of this nature, the Mama entity is not eager to lose her two adopted children, and thus follows them to their new dwelling. Also the Mama entity is just a tad bit jealous, so in an act of rage she inadvertently throws Uncle Lucas down a flight of stairs putting him into a coma… This action brings us to Lucas' wife, Annabel, played by Jessica Chastain. Receiving incredible accolades for her role in 'Zero Dark Thirty', I can only imagine the horrors that must have been racing through her mind when she heard the studio decided to move up the release timeline for this film to capitalize on all her new found fame.

Anyways, to make a long story short, it seems the Mama entity is destine to remain on Earth until it can right its wrong. In this particular instance, she is trying to find her lost baby. Forced to jump off a cliff with her child in her arms when she was alive, she was separated from her baby in the fall. If the movie would have followed the rules that it established, then the film may not have been better; however, it would have at least made sense. In the films climatic conclusion, where Mama entity and dead baby carcass are finally reunited, the heavens should have opened up, and the two should have ascended into eternal bliss… but did this happen???? Oh no, that would have made complete and utter sense to this completely ridiculous film. Instead writer/director Muschietti decides that the Mama entity should leap off the cliff with her new improved living daughters.

This is definitely one of those films in which you have to ask yourself, "Well, what happened the following day?" In the span of twenty-four hours, Dr. Dreyfuss, sister-in-law Jean, and youngest sibling Lilly are all dead, only Lucas, Annabel, and Victoria know what happened and that a vengeful ghost was the culprit. So as they are explaining all this to the police, do you think that they would get prison or psycho-ward?

This is truly a horrendous film and a total waste of Hollywood resources. To even associate Guillermo del Toro's (Pan's Labyrinth) name to this project is insulting and misleading. I cannot recommend seeing this film. You would be best serviced to avoid seeing this film.

See more of my reviews on FB @ "The Faris Reel"
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Jessica Chastain is the only good thing about this
cornflakeboy2017 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
"Mama" concerns two young girls abandoned in the woods by their murderous father, who went on a killing spree following an unexplained financial crisis. His story is never really resolved, and its point is only to deliver the girls to the woods. The girls take refuge in an empty cabin and are overseen by a protective spirit. They are found later by a doctor in a feral condition and taken in by their uncle and his edgy, band member girlfriend (Jessica Chastain), who is reluctant to take on any kind of parental role. We soon find out that the spirit of "Mama" follows the girls and is protective and jealous of any other parental figure in the girls' lives. After the uncle is injured after a fright from the spirit, Chastain's character has to take on the role of sole protector, and comes to find affection for the girls. The arrival of Mama's spirit is heralded by moths, whose symbolism is never quite clear, though perhaps they represent reincarnation.

This movie started out as averagely good PG-13 horror. There are no false scares in the movie; all the jumps have payoffs. Chastain's character is well-drawn and I'm impressed with her ability to transform physically and sink emotionally into a role. Her role might be appealing to women who are sick of seeing brain dead maternal type women as caretakers in horror movies.

Soon, however, a lot of the plot devices become laughable. Flashback scenes do not quite make sense and are filmed in a bizarre jerky daguerreotype style that made the preview audience laugh. A throwaway librarian character (a harbinger, if you've seen Cabin in the Woods) gives a ridiculous, melodramatic speech about ghosts and their unresolved conflicts that prompted unintended laughter. There are logical inconsistencies as well. Upon the discovery of the girls (five years later, we are told), it appears that the crashed car is just yards off of the main highway and the cabin not too far from that. The cabin has some modern touches that lead us to believe it is not as old as the spirit that inhabits it. There is a scene of possession of a minor character that is very poorly handled and finds no great resolution. And, typical for horror, it seems whenever the characters go in to search the cabin it's always the dead of night.

I will not describe the ending, but many people will feel cheated and offended at the vagueness and lack of satisfactory comeuppance. Some may feel we've followed the story for nothing, or have been lead to sympathize with the wrong characters when the movie wants us to follow other characters' trajectories.

All in all, I'd wait to stream this one and skip paying for it theatrically.
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Not Jump out at you scary, but creepy
rgkarim19 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Horror movies are indeed a genre that is always a hit or miss for me. Sometimes they deliver the chills they intend, but many of the modern scary films are filled with too much cheesiness to make me jump or shriek in terror. So once again I went to my local theater to check out the latest Hollywood horror entitled Mama, starring one of my favorite actresses Jessica Chastain. Like so many of her films, I looked forward to being entertained by the lovely redhead and hopefully by the movie as well. So what does this movie have in store for you? Read on to find out.

From my experiences, many horror films today prefer to use the art of making people jump with things suddenly appearing out of nowhere. While some directors know how to pull this off, many give away the surprise jump with camera work and audio tricks to warn you when something is coming. Guillermo del Toro's films though throw in some of these scenes, but instead focuses on another scare factor that affects me a little more: creepiness. Yes my friends Mama is creepy indeed using a combination of many things to create a world that has a good chance of giving you goose bumps. One factor that was a major contributor to the scare factor was the use of shadows. From the very start of the movie the houses are covered in shadows hiding the mysteries from within. In some cases, the camera is pitch black with only the haunting sounds and shifting shades to give insight into what lurks within. Yet many scenes involve using various sources of lights to provide a false sense of security that leaves you wondering if something will happen, which sometimes happens and sometimes doesn't. This unpredictable behavior kept the tension high for me and kept me wondering just where the movie was going. Of course these techniques would be nothing if it weren't for the human imagination. What I mean is that hiding Mama's true form for most of the movie allowed my mind to paint a picture of the specter that lurked within the halls and walls. Oh sure a few glimpses of her here and there provided some input, but there was still enough mystery left to allow me to envision some horrible nightmarish creatures.

Of course once Mama's form was revealed it didn't agree with my imagination, but surprisingly still was quite a sight to see. The dislocated joints, malnourished limbs, and disproportional faces were painted with a sickly brown color that gave it an added touch of realism to send tingles down your spine. Unfortunately some of the scenes relied too much on the CGI to bring her to life and her exaggerated movements blurred into mediocre CGI effects. What they lacked in the looks department though was made up for in the way Mama moved. At first nothing more than distant floats and occasional bursting out of the wall, Mama's behavior quickly evolved into something I hadn't seen in a while. The damage to her body gave it incredible flexibility that allowed her to contort into numerous positions that had the audience screaming in horror despite how fake it looked. For me though the scariest movement was her rapid dislocated walk she performed as she reached out to grab the little girl at the same time.

A few additional creep factors had to be the little girl Lilly and the background music. Lilly is the creepier of the two sisters as her silent demeanor and large eyes are a combination that will affect most. Most of the movie involves her stalking around the house, watching from the shadows silently like a creature on the prowl. When someone confronts her she says little as her large eyes seem to peer into your soul to shake your core. As for the music factor, well it's nothing spectacular, but it fits well with the scenes of the movie. The piano in particular provides a spectrum of sounds to match the emotions sometimes implying doom, while other times giving an extra sound that somehow provides the desired effect.

Besides creepiness though, this movie doesn't have many unique strengths that boost is score. The acting is fine, with Chastain once again doing a nice job with her part, but other than sounding and staring creepily at the camera there wasn't much to comment on. Many of the characters were fine and had a little more development than I expected in a horror movie, yet their development was very linear and predictable despite the emotion they portrayed. As for the story, it still falls into one of the tried and true plots that have been overused in Hollywood. However, the way the story was developed was entertaining and well done in my opinion. Instead of Chastain and the gang making random discoveries, the history of Mama was uncovered through a series of dreams, research, and hypnotic interviews with one of the girls. While it certainly isn't the best, I did enjoy the nice change in the delivery.

Mama is a horror movie that does its job right. Keeping it PG- 13 was indeed the right decision as it allowed the crew to make a movie that could mess with your head instead of drenching the screen in gore. Wondering if it is worth seeing in theaters? I'll say it is, but more for the horrifying screams and sounds, instead of actually story. I also wish people precautions as this movie may have some flashing light moments that may cause seizures if not careful. My scores for Mama are the following: Horror: 7.5 Movie Overall: 6.5-7.0
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first paranormal themed scary film in ages that actually scared me
grindcorerules23 August 2013
Like the title says, i enjoyed this movie immensely, the usual horror clichés are there but i still feel the movie felt fresh, and did things slightly differently from the norm. Mama herself is an excellent creation,they keep her image out of it until later for maximum tension, and then when she is unleashed its like all the dread thats been building explodes into fear. her movement etc is exactly what is needed to make this sort of film scary. There are a couple of moments that are pure terror and i was laughing after a few of the bits just because i was so amused and entertained by the scariness. My girlfriend actually moaned with fear at one point! Her face throughout the 2nd half was priceless :P i think some of the other reviewers are being overly critical, yes the end wasn't amazing but it think it did a much better job than a lot of other films like this, and seeing this gives me hope that there's still very scary things that can be done in this genre of horror. :)

Its maybe not a 10, more an 8.5/9 but im giving it a ten to balance out the negative reviews.
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Casey's Movie Mania: MAMA (2013)
caseymoviemania27 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Last year, when Guillermo del Toro helped executive produced Troy Nixey's directing debut in a supernatural chiller called DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, many horror fans were expecting an edge-of-the-seat spookfest but what they got, was a horror-movie yawner instead. This year, it's sad to say that del Toro failed to live up to his good reputation for the second time in another supernatural chiller called MAMA. Expanded by sibling filmmakers Andres and Barbara Muschietti from their 2008 short, Andres Muschietti's directing debut does bears the influence of executive producer Guillermo del Toro's trademark of graphic supernatural elements and moody visuals. Unfortunately, MAMA is a crushing bore that doesn't do much other than repeating the same scare over the course of 109-minute running time.

Like DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, the movie begins with a promising setup: a depressed father named Jeffrey (Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) shot two business associates and his ex-wife, before kidnapping his two little daughters: Victoria (Morgan McGarry) and Lilly (Maya and Sierra Dawe), and flees with them to an unknown destination. During the getaway, he was driving too fast on a snowy highway and eventually losing control of his car. The car crashes, but all of them survives. Soon after, he takes the kids through the woods until they come to an old cabin in the middle of nowhere. Once inside, he takes out his gun to prepare a double murder-suicide. But before he is able to pull the trigger, something sinister appears from the dark and snatches him away. The two little girls are then left by themselves with only the mysterious creature as their companion.

So far, so good. But what follows next is an awfully familiar story that fails to find its proper footing ever since. Five years later, the girls, Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse), are now grown up to 8 and 6-year-old respectively. Both of them are gradually discovered living on their own in the cabin, and later brought to an institute where they are studied and held under intensive care by a psychiatrist named Dr. Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash). After years living remotely all by themselves, the girls are feral, frightened and limited in their language abilities. Throughout their state of isolation, they are so psychologically disturbed that they are thought to have created an imaginary female protector named "Mama".

Then one day the girls are released into the custody of their uncle, Lucas (also Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) and his goth-rocker girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain). However, Annabel isn't a motherly type and doesn't seems to be comfortable having two children living in their house. But that's not the only problem -- apparently the girls have somehow brought along their "Mama" with them. Things get worse when Lucas is hospitalized following a mysterious fall down the stairs, and forced Annabel to be left alone with the girls. Slowly, Annabel discovers something is very wrong that the so-called "Mama" isn't an imaginary person after all.

Everything in MAMA is painfully clichéd: the story is pedestrian and most of the scares are more of the same. The pace is also slow-moving, with nothing much happens and the revelatory finale is a huge disappointment -- especially when the director finally shows the full-bodied creature of "Mama". Needless to say, the creature looks too fake with its spotty special effects.

Somewhere in between, there are worthwhile camera placements by Andres Muschietti but his overall direction is a routine exercise in style but little substance. The cast does what they can with their given roles, particularly from Jessica Chastain's credible performance as Annabel.

The rest is a yawner.
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Very few horror movies have done this with character development.
jrobthornton18 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I was extremely surprised with this movie. The character development was sensational. Jessica Chastain was really good. She went from an irresponsible, un-child wanting rocker. To a loving mother. The daughters went from psycho, savage human beings. But eventually they find happiness. Especially at the end, Lilly gets what she has always wanted, to be with "mama". Victoria gets a true mother and father. I haven't seen much character development in a horror movie at all. The most before this was Sydney from the "Scream" franchise, and that was rather minor. The way that this all comes together in the end is incredible. Even "mama" has a beautiful (yet disturbing) revelation. An intense movie like this needed some sort of relief and it has a few funny little bits. The script was written well and the story was really unique. The scares were frequent and they kept me on the edge of my seat. I can some it up by saying, I highly recommend this movie due to the great story, script, scares, and character development.
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Yet Another Ghost Story
bobbybits25 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Not a bad horror containing plenty of jumps, probably laughter at what was just so damn ugly. Although this story line has been done so many times before the concept is nothing new. Although in this film, it had one of the best "crackhead" (pun) monsters on film, visually nasty. Riminiscent of The Ring, The Grudge, The Excorist and a few others great horrors. Disappiontment into what was turned out to be such a lame ending, this equated to a bird in the hand is worth more then two on the branch. While playing that boohoo melody with its white lights and Moths/butterflies CGI. The biggest flaw I had with this film was the doctor doing his own investigation right after running away. Dumb slang title so not much expectation.

Middle road, 5 out of 10 for a nasty Mama
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Besides the structure, design and vibe everything else is mediocre
KineticSeoul31 January 2013
I liked the structure, design and vibe of this movie but everything else was kinda mediocre. It's basically a ghost haunting movie, of course the ghosts in different movies haunts for different reasons. But this one is a ghost haunting movie. Where two sibling kids that move like a spider Gollum especially the younger one that gets found in a small house in the woods. And a couple decides to take care of them because the guy feels responsible because they are the daughters of his brother who disappeared. And the 30yr old garage band girl who is the girlfriend of the guy because she feels that she needs to put up with it. This movie does a decent job of making a dis-likable character somewhat likable near the end. Like I said the structure, design and vibe adds a lot to the creepiness but when it comes to the story, it doesn't really stand out. This movie is much better than "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark" which is another movie presented by Guillermo del Toro. But it doesn't reach the psychedelic dreamlike vibe that is creepy or even scary and yet beautiful although it tries to be. The film "The Orphanage" comes to mind.

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Creepy, Scary but with a Disappointing Conclusion
claudio_carvalho12 June 2013
The senior partner of an investment brokerage Jeffrey (Nikolaj Coaster- Waldau) has a breakdown and kills his two associates and his wife. Then he takes his three-year old daughter Victoria and the one-year old daughter Lilly and drives his car through a winding snowing road to Clifton Forge. He has a car accident and fall off a cliff, but he brings his daughters to an abandoned and isolated cabin to kill them, but the children are saved by a creepy ghostly creature.

Five years later, Jeffrey's brother Lucas finds the children that were raised without social relationship and claim that they have been raised by Mama. Lucas disputes the custody with the children's grandmother but Dr. Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash), who is studying the girls, selects Lucas to take care of the children. Lucas lives with his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain), who plays in a rock'n'roll band, and Victoria and Lilly moves to their house. Soon Lucas and Annabel find that the girls were not delusional and they are not alone in the house.

"Mama" is a creepy and scary horror movie, with a frightening story. The girls Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nélisse have convincing performances in the role of two young sisters that are left alone in the woods for five years. Unfortunately, the conclusion disappoints. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Mama"
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