Premise: When their criminal-on-the-run father strands them at a cabin in the woods, two little girls spend years holed up inside with only a supernatural and malevolent being attending to them. But when the feral girls are discovered five years later and adopted by their aunt and uncle, their new “mama” is jealous and doesn’t want to share her guardianship.
Mini Review: “Mama” is another rare case of a PG-13-rated horror movie that’s actually scary — not horrifyingly scary — but it has its moments. There’s a scene early in the film where a distraught father prepares to kill his daughters before committing suicide, and this bleak moment is more upsetting than any monster-related aspect of the film. The “Mama” character is largely a CGI creation and though passably creepy during the film, she seems rather cartoonish as I reflect on her in retrospect. The young actresses that play the daughters give exceptional performances — especially Isabelle Nélisse as Lilly. There is a tug-of-war scene in this movie that will chill your spine, but the best part of “Mama” is its sound design: “Mama” makes terrifying noises. Unfortunately, the script is overly convoluted (particularly Mama’s back story), so the scenes don’t flow into one another. And as far as horror movies go, “Mama” is a little too long and too slow for my tastes.
Directed by Andres Muschietti. Starring Jessica Chastain, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse. Sub-genre: Supernatural / Ghost. Runtime: 100 min. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for violence and terror, some disturbing images and thematic elements). U.S. theater release: January 18, 2013. DVD release: n/a. Country: U.S. Language: English. Mini Review by Jay of the Dead. 0002.