Review: “Mama”

Review: Mama

Mama gives horror fans a reason to dislike the film. Credit: mcwire
Mama gives horror fans a reason to dislike the film. Credit: mcwire

Cutting through the recent influx of Valentine’s Day merchandise and clatter is the horror film Mama, produced by Guillermo del Toro and starring Academy Award-nominated actress Jessica Chastain.

Del Toro, known for his cult-favorite film Pan’s Labyrinth, is no stranger to directing unnerving films, and perhaps if he had directed the film instead of Andres Muschietti, it would have gone over better.

For horror buffs, Mama seems like it would be the perfect film. It contains all of the elements of a great scary movie: creepy children, convoluted ghosts and many other horror staples. However, in practice, all of the elements seem jumbled and out of place – not to mention Jessica Chastain seems completely out of character in her role as the punk-rocker Annabel.

A tale of two sisters abandoned in a forest at a young age and raised by a mysterious figure only known as “Mama,” the film’s premise actually has quite a bit of potential; however, a combination of poor acting, terrible special effects, and a muddled story completely drop the ball, making the film difficult to watch at best.

While the film does have its high points – actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is a fine actor and really rounds out the cast of otherwise unexceptional thespians – the film relies on cheap jump scares to elicit a response from the audience. While some points of the story do strike a chord of fear, it is mostly the aforementioned “Mama” popping into the frame that gets a jump from its viewers.

The story is also very confusing, and some parts could have done with a great deal more explanation. Overall, the film isn’t horrible. However, if one must watch it, I would offer the suggestion to definitely wait until this one comes out for rental, as it isn’t worth the price of admission.