Movie Review: Mama

2013 is the year I am getting out of my comfort zone with writing, with my career, with my relationships, and my personal growth. On Sunday, I turn 25 and I am coming to the quick realization I am getting to that age where I will become set in my ways. The brain reaches its full growth potential at the age of 25, or as I like to say, the brain has finished cooking. Even now as I look back on the past 24 years of my life, I can already recognize my inability to change some aspects of my life. Yesterday, I decided to see my very first horror film in a movie theater. I didn’t actually see my first “scary movie” until the age of 18 when my boyfriend at the time forced me into watching The Grudge. I was not able to sleep for about a week, and I wanted to murder him everytime he got in the floor, made that weird croaking/gurgling sound and writhed across the room to me. Still gives me the heebee-jeebies. But don’t think that I am a total wimp. I love slasher films and zombie flicks. I could watch those all day and be just fine. But horror films just get under my skin, into my brain, and they haunt me when I close my eyes or I let my imagination get the best of me. The movie that I saw yesterday was Mama, the new film by Pan’s Labyrinth producer Guillermo del Torro. I will not delve too much into it because I am not one to be the spoiler for movies intentionally, but I will give my own opinion on the film as best as someone who had her ears covered half the time can.


The story begins when two girls, Victoria and Lilly are abducted by their estranged father and then by a series of events are left alone in the wilderness. A mysteriouus entity protects the girls and watches over them. During the credits of the film, you get to see Victoria’s depictions of she and Lilly growing up by means of childhood drawings. The girls start upright and they eventually grow to walking on their hands and feet like animals. The drawings get more and more disturbing as the credits roll on. In the next scene, the girls’ Uncle Lucas has been obsessively searching for his long lost brother and his daughters. His girlfriend Annabelle, a rocker, is relieved to find out she is not pregnant. Of course, within the next 20 minutes the girls are in fact found and they are brought to live with Lucas and a very reluctant Annabelle. Lucas takes on the role of dad quickly whereas Annabelle seems more than ticked at the idea. The creepy factor is definitely there, even without Mama lurking in the corners of the room. The actresses that played Viactoria and Lilly were truly amazing. They really captured the animalistic ferelty of two little girls left to fend for themselves with a violent, tortured soul of a ghost. The character of Mama chilled me to the bone, though. Again, this was my first horror film in theatres, there was no escaping the look of or the sounds this creature made. Tim and I were sitting directly in front of the sound system (lucky us) and the thing that frightened me the most were the screams that Mama made for a full 20 seconds. It could have been even longer, I am not sure. I am aurally inclined person, so yes, I did continue to hear Mama’s screams in my head last night while I tried to drift off to sleep. I am going to give major credit to whoever worked on the CGI for Mama. From her fluid movements when she was lurking about to the full-on convulsions when she was angry were creepy and frightening. I could barely look at her. Not to mention, this film pulls out all the stops in your childhood fears; Mama doesn’t conform to the basic house ghost. She can follow you back to her place of origin, she hides under the bed in one scene and crawls out from under it to breath on your neck. She hides in the closet, invades your dreams, and even goes as far as total possession of your body. Mama is the mamajamma of evil spirits, but she has a soft side for her adopted girls. She coos, sings to, and plays with them like a mother. The character is so insanely real, I think this is what is the most frightening thing about her. Back to the story, Annabelle is forced to take care of Victoria and Lilly on her own after Lucas has a face off with Mama (does he live, does he die? I ain’t telling!). During this one on one time with the girls, Annabelle starts to tap into her inner mother figure and actually bonds with them. This of course, makes Mama jealous, and she begins to cause havoc around the house and make Annabelle’s life a living nightmare. Annabelle becomes obsessed with finding out the origin of Mama and eventually finds the key that could end the misery of the spirit she comes to fear and sympathize with. At the film’s conclusion, there is a chance for the “happy, predictable” ending, but of course there is a bit of a curve ball thrown at the audience in the last few minutes. Of course, I will not give the ending away. As I walked out of the theatre, I must say that I was shaken as well as thoroughly pleased with the movie.

I give Mama four out of five stars and all the lights in my house turned on last night. If you are a horror movie buff or can at least handle a little creepiness and love a great storyline, I encourage you to go see this film. Do not take the little ones, though. Oh, one more thing. There is a scene where Annabelle (played by Jessica Chastain) sits next to Victoria, who is probably around the age of 8-10. The size difference is nonexistent. In fact, I believe that Victoria is actually plumper than Jessica Chastain. For the love of all that is holy, Jessica, eat something! You’re making 8 year olds look fat!

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