With Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet, Jane Moffat
Written by Andrés Muschietti, Barbara Muschietti, Neil Cross
Directed by Andrés Muschietti
After a deadly tragedy, a man's two abandoned nieces become feral after five years of isolation at a cabin in the woods. When he finally tracks them down, his carefree girlfriend (who plays bass in a rock band) is wholly unprepared for this responsibility, especially with the prospect of serious patience and care lying ahead in the rehabilitation of the wild pair. But, slowly she acquiesces. The older of the two progresses better, but they discover that the girls interact with an invisible mother figure. What seems like a psychological coping mechanism becomes apparent that something very dark and deadly returned with them...
With Guilermo Del Toro attached as a producer, you can expect the quality to be high (like The Orphanage). But, while Mama features a very emotional mood and some tense, creepy moments and good scares, I feel that the digitally enhanced villain (while very well executed) lacked a sense of realism within the physical world she infiltrates. An actor in prosthetic make-up FX shot underwater would've worked better. But that's just me – a post 2000 audience have integrated themselves into the digital prerequisites in all movie genres and may not find it distracting. Another sore point (that seems to be the theatre's neglect) was a washed-out image that had dark scenes badly contrasted with things hiding in the shadows not being visible and losing detail.
While effective in blending psychological issues and ghostly terror, Mama is unfortunately not in the league of a movie like the aforementioned Orphanage.
4 / B
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished
A: Multi-Viewing Potential