Movie Review: Mama

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Guillermo del Toro presents Mama, a supernatural thriller that tells thehaunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their mother was murdered. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night. The day their father killed their mother, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished near their suburban neighborhood. For five long years, their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), have been madly searching for them. But when, incredibly, the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home. 

Last night, my husband suggested we watch Mama.  When I asked him what it was about he said, "Oh, it's about two girls that are abandoned in the woods after their mother dies."  I was envisioning something along the lines of Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls.  I even jokingly accused, "Why is it you always want to watch these sappy movies with me?"  He never did reply, now that I think about it.  Either a) he didn't hear me or b) I couldn't see the smug, knowing smirk on his face as he was secretly laughing at my total wrong-ness.  I'm going with b.

Anyway, when we watched the trailer, I was a little surprised to find out it was a horror movie!  My brother claimed:

I almost pissed my pants at the movie theater.  I was scared shitless!

Courtesy of my 17 year-old brother.
This kind of set my expectation for the movie, so I was automatically expecting it to be super scary.  Of course, the hubby and I were watching it after midnight in the complete darkness of the bedroom (he likes scaring the shit out of me).  He even let me lay in front of him on the bed so I could see better, but I whined a little:  "It'll be scarier in front!"

Picture from Rotten Tomatoes.
So, on to watching the movie.  The movie is about two girls who end up in an otherwise abandoned cabin in the woods after their father goes crazy, kills his wife, and wrecks his car in the woods.  After a five year search by their uncle, Luke, the girls are found.  When they come to live with Luke and, girlfriend, Annabel, everyone begin to wonder if 'Mama' really is someone the girls made up or if she's something far worse.

Got your attention so far?  Good.

So, as I not-quite-tremble against my husband in anticipation of being scared shitless, I catch my first few glimpses of Mama.  After I get a good look at her, the suspense and anticipation are gone and I'm really not all that scared anymore.  Actually, I might have even felt a little blah about the whole thing.  I really thought she was going to scare the bejeezus out of me.

The story was okay, but I was definitely not impressed with the ending.  Overall, I think they could have done so much more with this story and that it could have been so much better.  The hubs was quite disappointed as well.

If you're into old-school scares over cheap gore, you'll be able to get over Mama's confusing script and contrived plot devices.

Courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes.
 On Rotten Tomatoes, 60% of fans enjoyed the movie, and Kathleen Hale at the Huffington Post seemed to like it.  But I'm still not budging.  It definitely isn't terrible, but as an easy-to-scare person, I was less than impressed.  I think I had more fun reading the goofs that I'll never look for because I'm unlikely to ever watch this again.

The movie did have some positive points, though.  I liked the realism of Annabel and agree with Kathleen's assessment and approval of the women in this movie.  I think it's great that the ending isn't your run-of-the-mill ending, but I still think it could've been done better.  I think the movie started off great, but lacked follow through.  Also, I think more suspense with Mama would've been great.  I wish they wouldn't have revealed her so soon, so I could have been biting my nails with anticipation at what she was or wasn't.

Needless to say, my brother is a pussy and deserves a good slap for giving me the wrong expectation.

Courtesy of me.


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