Monday, July 15, 2013

Mama (2013)

One thing that's hard about reviewing horror movies in the midst of the information onslaught that is the internet is that I feel torn between what I do think about something and what I'm "supposed" to think about it.  But, despite mixed reviews, I absolutely freakin' loved Mama.  Not only do creepy kids scare the bejesus out of me, but the striking attention to eeriness and specific details just really solidified this flick for me.  The girls who played the young abandoned children were just so haunting and beautiful, and for a movie almost completely devoid of gore, this one found a way to really stick with you.

Jeffrey, father of Victoria and Lilly, has a nervous breakdown, and kills his partners at his firm, as well as his wife.  He takes his daughters on a drive, crashing the car and stranding them all in the woods.  They find a cabin, but Jeffrey, obviously in a bad mental state, prepares to shoot the children and then himself.  However, an unseen force pulls him from view, leaving the young children to fend for themselves, which they do for five years.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey's brother, Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), never stops searching for his brother and nieces.  Tapped out of money, but determined to find them, he finally gets the call he's been looking for.  The girls are alive, but feral after living like animals for their formative years.  Lucas is eager to take them in, but his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain) is not excited about assuming the responsibility.  They learn that in order to cope with their abandonment, the girls created a protector called "Mama," but is Mama made up after all?

While the backstory of the "Mama" character was slight contrived and not entirely well-explained, the transformation of Victoria and Lilly was incredible.  The children's acting was so on-point, and Jessica Chastain is absolutely unrecognizable as Annabel, although a bit annoying as a character.  And of course, one of the things I love most about this movie was the absolutely haunting little details, from Mama hiding under a blanket near the closet, to Lucas crawling across the floor with Victoria's glasses.

[I only wish I could find a photo of Victoria looking out the window of the cabin with her broken glasses.  Someone please send it to me.  My computer doesn't play BluRays so I can't do a screenshot!]

Overall, I thought Mama was incredible.  Did I love the ending?  No, not exactly, but I also can't think of a better one, so maybe that's the way it had to go.  I would definitely recommend this movie, and as the kids say, fuck tha haters ;)