Mama (2013)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Creepy Mama, strong acting and visuals

Wish it wasn't supernatural

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Mama

Studio:  Toma 78

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  January 18, 2013

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


And you thought your kids were wild…

When Jeffrey (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) kills his wife and flees with his young children, a crash on an isolated road leaves them lost in the forest.  Jeffrey finds a cabin in the woods, but something else lies in the cabin which kills Jeffrey…leaving the children.  As years pass, Lucas (also played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) searches for his brother and nieces when the cabin is found.  Now Lucas and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain) find themselves in a difficult position in trying to rehabilitate Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lily (Isabelle Nélisse) with the help of their doctor Gerald Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash).  When an accident forces Lucas into the hospital, Annabel is about to find out who Mama is and she tends to her children.

Written and directed by Andrés Muschietti (who receives an onscreen credit as Andy Muschietti), Mama was executive produced by Guillermo del Toro.  The film is an adaptation of Muschietti’s short Mama from 2008 and received mostly positive reviews upon its release.


Mama, you’re hogging all the sheets!!!

I have been burned by films like Mama before and approached it with caution.  With an interesting and creepy subject, I often find these artistic horror films a bit tough since it sometimes is difficult to find the balance between horror and the stylized film.

Mama has the same problems.  I like how Mama sets up the story as a fairy tale type movie and find a lot of the film creepy…but I just don’t like the overall plot.  The movie from outside looked like Mama could be a creature feature type film, but the movie devolves into a rather typical supernatural ghost story involving (unnecessary) interdimensional travel.  The ghost story isn’t bad, but I was really hoping for a creature.


Guess who?!?!

As mentioned, Mama is pretty artsy in appearance.  This really doesn’t mesh well with the rather typical story.  Mama is at its best when the story is about the haunting creature and the fact that it is living in the home with the children without both Annabel and Lucas knowledge.  Scenes like the creature being in the corner lurking are high concept, but the stylish look loses credit when portals to the woods start opening up around the house…just let Mama be a creature that pursues the children to their new home.


I’ll be back for more children!!!

I like Jessica Chastain and her and the children (who also are quite good as child actors), but Mama is the real star of the movie.  The creepy ghost creature looks great and moves like a wraith through scenes.  As I mentioned, I would have loved for it to just be a monster, but at least the ghost was done well.  The character does supply some nice horror and jumps.

Mama is worth seeking out, but I was a bit disappointed by it.  With a good set-up, I wanted more from Mama and maybe a harder rating could have helped.  PG-13 movies might have more appeal, but now, as an adult, I want a harder edge to my horror and would love the smart PG-13 writing combined with some R-Rated horror…It doesn’t have to be Friday the 13th or a gore fest like Hostel, but a horrifying Mama might have been the edge the movie needed to fully make it for me.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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