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Mama (2013)

  Tags: Andres Muschietti, Barbara Muschietti, based on short film, children, ghosts, haunting, Isabelle Nelisse, Jessica Chastain, kids, Mama, Megan Charpentier, Miles Dale, Neil Cross, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

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Andres Muschietti
100 minutes
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jessica Chastain, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nelisse

Mama is based on a successful short film with the same name from director Andrés Muschietti. The short actually caught the attention of Guillermo Del Toro, who helped put the project together and turn it into a full length feature and with good reason, as the flick is a surprisingly effective chiller for the first half, but falls victim to some iffy CG and a little too much Mama exposure with the remaining half.

The flick starts off with a father attempting to flee the police after murdering his wife. He grabs his two young girls and makes for a daring escape, but in the process finds the car veering off the road and into the nearby wilderness. Hurt and bleeding, the man roams the woods with his daughters until coming across a secluded broken down cabin. Seeking shelter they make their way inside, never to be seen again...

The girls are found alone in the cabin by a couple hunters several years later. The once young and innocent sisters have now turned to beasts, having to fend for themselves and survive the wild for years. They're taken in by the proper authorities and eventually given custody to their uncle and his young girlfriend. It isn't long before strange events occur and it becomes clear that the girls might not've exactly been alone in the cabin all those years and something may have followed them to their new home.

Mama works as an effective old school ghost chiller for the most part, as it plays with viewer by showing us bits and pieces of a dark long-limbed shadowy figure in the background during several scenes. The filmmakers also make great use of sound, notably when it came to the freaky sounds that Mama would make during key scenes. It all worked for the most part, but (much like a lot of horror films) around the hour mark is when they stop giving us glimpses and start really showing us Mama, which kind of ruins the creepiness and mystery that was dominant in the first half. It also doesn't help that the Mama is completely computer generated, which is more obvious when she starts populating the screen more often towards the end.

Of course, they wouldn't have been able to accomplish much of the climax without showing Mama in her entirety, so I don't want to fault the film too much on that aspect, especially since I really dug the storyline. Aside from the overuse and exposure of Mama by the end, I really enjoyed the film and am looking forward to more work from the director in the years to come.

This is an effective supernatural chiller that offers a lot of solid creepy scenes in the first half, but kind of falls apart towards the end due to the overexposure of the CG'd Mama character. However, it was an integral part in the climax, so I won't entirely fault it for that, especially since I really liked the unique concept behind the story. If you're looking for a creepy solid ghost flick with a good pace and semi-creative storyline then give this a look.

Posted on May 24, 2013 - 6:22pm | FrighT MasteR