January 22, 2013

Movie: Mama (2013)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 12:07 am

imagesI initially thought it was a Guillermo del Toro directed movie. What gave me the impression? Well, every poster screams ‘presented by Guillermo del Toro’ to cash in on his fame! However, it is not directed by Guillermo. He is an executive producer, which means that he invested in the film and was the decision maker. The direction, screenplay everything was done by others.

No matter; in parts it feels like Guillermo himself had taken part in directing or writing the script and it is very effective.

Now, the story starts in a cliché fashion. A man, who snaps under pressure of business failure, kills his business associates and wife and takes his kids away. The story is told well, in just conversations with his kids. The scenes can be a bit stilted where he is angry and frantic and shouts at the kids, but the two kids are adorable, barely four or five years old (Victoria) and a very small baby (Less than one? One?). Lily.  The cuteness of the babies kind of saves the scene before this degenerates into a B or C grade movie – before it takes off.

He crashes his car and gets into an abandoned looking house. (Hmmm.. another horror cliché?) and then in anguish, knowing that all is lost, tries to kill his kids. He is prevented from doing so by a malevolent presence in the house, which kills him and looks after the kids. Nice touch where a cherry is rolled towards the kids to eat, ties in later.

Now, the scene where the kid’s glasses are broken is very touching and is cute at the same time. The kids are just adorable and their dialog seems natural in the middle of all this.

Later, the kids are discovered by some loggers and given custody to his uncle Lucas and his girlfriend Annabel. The pile of cherry pits in the houst whre they were discovered  is interesting. The kids are feral, though the elder Victoria has retained enough memory of her past life to be able to communicate.

Lucas and Annabel try to bring them back to civilization but realize that a presence called Mama by the kids has come with them to the house. The story is told in a chilling way. For instance, through  a partially open door, you see (the now five years older) Lily playing with someone and assume it is Victoria – because Lucas is at work and Annabel is carrying laundry in an adjacent corridor. But then you see Victoria coming from the opposite end of the corridor and you chillingly realize that she is playing with someone else. And before Victoria enters the room and closes the door, you see Lily flying with that someone else. Spooky.

There is another surprise. Annabel is played by a brunette version of Jessica Chastain. Is she the same lady as in Zero Dark Thirty? A totally different character and portrayal. Not bad for a newcomer!

The story has the obligatory nods to the horror clichés. There is the obligatory scientist who refuses to believe in the supernatural mumbo jumbo and pays the price for his investigations. There is the really semi cartoonish ending scene with Mama in her full glory. But the ending kind of surprised me and is not cliché at all.

All in all, in spite of the little formulaic presentation, a very enjoyable movie, just for the story telling, which has shades of   Pan’s Labyrinth like misdirection.

Let us say a 6/10

— Krishna



Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: