My History With the Film:
I picked up a blu ray copy of Mama for three dollars when my local FYE went out of business. The movie had popped up on my radar thanks to a recommendation from my wife and the fact that it was directed by Andy Muschietti, who directed 2017’s IT.
I went in completely blind to this film and really enjoyed it.
What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
After a young couple take in their two nieces, they suspect that a supernatural spirit named Mama has latched onto their family.
What I Liked About It:
-Mama starts off with a haunting scene and slowly the film turns into a very twisted fairy tale type story. It’s subtle and incredibly effective. The last ten minutes really show what a ghost fairy tale the movie truly is.
-Speaking of the ending, kudos to the filmmakers for having the guts to go with the ending that they did.
-The biggest two children leads are incredible: Megan Charpentier as Victoria and Isabelle Nelisse as Lilly. They put on memorable performances and are incredibly creepy throughout the entire film. I was actually in awe at how effective they were in their roles and I don’t think I’ve ever seen more terrifying children in my entire life.
-Jessica Chastain (Anna) finds her playing a very different role as a tatted up punk rocker forced to be suburban housewife. It was impressive how she was put into this different role and then she was forced to change within it. She made it look seamless and I feel like this is a very underrated performance in a horror film.
-The flashback scenes were quite creative and I enjoyed the first person perspective and quirky filters.
What I Didn’t Like About It:
-I hate when ghost hack computers and well… two hundred year old ghosts hacking computers is just dumb.
-It took Javier Botet four hours to get into makeup as Mama. He also played a ghoulish woman in REC (2007) and the Lepar in IT (2017).
-Based on a short film by Andy Muschietti and his sister Barbara.
-Isabelle Nelisse (Lilly) couldn’t speak English which is why she doesn’t have much dialogue.
-Mama’s appearance was inspired by an Amedeo Modigliani painting owned by Andy Muschietti. He later reused this same visual as the painting that comes to life to terrorize Stan in IT (2017).
-The movie opened at number two behind Zero Dark Thirty which also starred Jessica Chastain.
Mama was way creepier than I expected and managed to tell a decent story. I loved how it flirted with an almost fairy tale type quality and I also love how daring the script was. Outside of the children’s performances, I don’t think the movie will leave a huge lasting impression but it was a good way to spend an evening and is well worth a watch.
I rate Mama a three out of five and say it’s worth a rental.