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101 of 112 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good acting, a monster that I don't see too little, good effects and a story I can swallow...we have a winner!
Good acting, a monster that I don't see too little, good effects (even if it is all just CGI) and a story I can swallow...we have a winner! This movie is nothing epic nor did it have the best scares I've seen in a while, but it's a horror movie that "works."

First time feature director Andrés Muschietti (writer/director of the short film Mamá)...
Published 22 months ago by John's Horror Corner

versus
38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars for another excellent performance by Jessica Chastain
You might be wondering what acclaimed actress Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty") is doing in a goofy-named horror flick. She's actually in good company with award winning stars like Nicole Kidman ("The Others") and Naomi Watts ("The Ring" 1 & 2) to name a couple. Here Chastain plays Annabel, a Suzi Quatro-like bassist in a punk rock band, complete with short dark...
Published 22 months ago by M. Oleson


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101 of 112 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good acting, a monster that I don't see too little, good effects and a story I can swallow...we have a winner!, January 18, 2013
This review is from: Mama (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) (Blu-ray)
Good acting, a monster that I don't see too little, good effects (even if it is all just CGI) and a story I can swallow...we have a winner! This movie is nothing epic nor did it have the best scares I've seen in a while, but it's a horror movie that "works."

First time feature director Andrés Muschietti (writer/director of the short film Mamá) does a solid job with atmosphere and "creepy." The story gets moving when two orphaned girls are discovered in an abandoned cabin in the woods after five years somehow surviving on their own (now they're about 9 and 7 years old-ish). Their eyes are cold and scared yet somehow predatory, their hair and skin far beyond wildly filthy, and their movement is so unnatural that it reminds me more of a Silent Hill monster than an animal. More disturbing was the degeneration of their oral skills with the exception of whispering "mama."

Much to my surprise, the maternal poltergeist Mama was not a kept mystery. Mama, her appearance, what she's capable of and her relationship with the girls are all presented to us right away. So when the feral Victoria (Megan Charpentier; Resident Evil: Retribution, Red Riding Hood, Jennifer's Body) and Lilly are taken in by uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain), the movie doesn't rely on us wondering when Mama will pop up and reign terror on the new foster parents. Instead we watch the girls maintain a secret relationship with Mama while remaining emotionally distant from Lucas and Annabel.

But once their child psychologist and the new parents catch on to Mama's presence, simply a psychological manifestation or even a home invader by their perception, Mama feels threatened. And once the girls begin to open up to the doctor or feel affection for their new parents, Mama gets pissed! So we find ourselves not only nervous when we're "normally" nervous in these movies (e.g., walking in dark halls, opening the ajar closet door, looking over your shoulder to see what the girls are looking at), but we're also nervous when things wouldn't normally be unnerving...like when we see Annabel desperately hugging a thrashing Lilly, who starts to find the embrace comforting...I wonder if Mama is watching.

What's interesting is how this movie has such a simple story with one simple revelation toward its end, no red herrings and no real surprises--yet, it really works. I thought they had some trouble making the finale at the end come together, actually I thought it was too drawn out and a bit weak, but overall I was VERY pleased with this movie.

We start out feeling edgy about the girls, and as they normalize we start feeling edgy about Mama (Javier Botet; creature actor of all three [REC] films). And Mama is worth feeling edgy about. She looks quite contorted, distorted and disturbing, moves like a bipedal yet quadriplegic demon on meth, and manifests an aura of decay. I felt effectively continuously worried about what this apparition was going to do next, and the pace of the movie never disappoints.

I feel like we've been trained to find piss poor acting to be totally acceptable when it comes to horror. But Mama's cast features nothing but competency and a few pleasant surprises. Of course, no one should be shocked that Jessica Chastain pulled off the stand-offish girlfriend turned hesitant parent. But what about young Megan Charpentier? As the reserved older sister Victoria and her stone cold portrayal of The Red Queen in the latest Resident Evil installment she has all the makings of both one of the youngest Scream Queens ever, but also a talented young actress!

This movie was a pleasure with good characters, a monster that I don't see too little, good effects (even if it is all just CGI) and a story I can swallow. I look forward to watching this with an easily scared date on my couch in the dark. ;)
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80 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nobody puts Mama in the corner!, April 26, 2013
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This review is from: Mama (Amazon Instant Video)
Before I purchased this movie, I read a number of critic reviews and found them to be extremely mixed. Many critics liked the film; many disliked it. All called it derivative.

I can't say I agree. I really enjoyed this little creeper of a film! It may not be the best horror film in the whole wild world, but it certainly scared the crap out of me and my girlfriend. That's not bad for a PG-13 movie!

The story goes that a father goes on a murderous rampage, then kills his estranged wife and naps his two daughters. He drives off at crazy speeds and spins off the road. Surviving the accident, he wanders with his daughters through a cold, isolated woods until he discovers a seemingly unused cabin.

Flash forward five years. The kids' uncle has been looking for them all these years, and his investigators find them still living in the cabin; daddy is nowhere to be found. How the heck did those two little feral girls survive all that time on their own?

Or WERE they on their own?

This movie wasn't exactly subtle. It wasn't as if I couldn't foresee many of the plot twists, but it still scared the snot out of me. No tiny feat that! It reminds me of that other little horror gem Darkness Falls. Not a big movie. Not a perfect movie. But a damned good movie.

I highly recommend this flawed but thrilling film!
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good balance, May 20, 2013
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This review is from: Mama (Amazon Instant Video)
I'm a unique horror movie watcher: I'm utterly terrified/disgusted by gore and gratuitous violence, but I don't mind a good dose of morbidity and twisted metal states. This movie was a perfect balance because it had the quick cuts and jumps to get you gasping, but there was no gore or useless chainsaws. The story was morbid but plausible (who doesn't love a 19th century insane asylum ghost?) and the added unsettling concept of two little girls being raised in the words for five years without human contact, and how twisted that simply makes them, ghost aside, was great.

Good acting, great combination of jumping scares and a legitimately terrifying ghost in Mama; she was just my sort of horrifying: tattered shroud, distorted features, HAUNTED eyes, nightmarish voice. I'd suggest you watch this in a heartbeat. Definitely a nice surprise after a lot of mediocre horror flicks.
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Mama, just killed a man", January 19, 2013
By 
Monkdude (Hampton, Virginia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mama (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) (Blu-ray)
Mama is a good semi-creepy horror movie about two young children who spend five years alone in the woods and are later found and adopted by their uncle (the Kingslayer actor from Game of Thrones) and his wife (the always great Jessica Chastain in full goth mode, trading in her trademark red hair for black and sporting tattoos). Of course, something the children call "Mama" comes home with them and thus the horror begins. Maybe a little too much CGI used, but most of it looked okay. All in all, this is a well made ghost story that packs a few scares and has good acting throughout.
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars for another excellent performance by Jessica Chastain, January 23, 2013
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This review is from: Mama (DVD)
You might be wondering what acclaimed actress Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty") is doing in a goofy-named horror flick. She's actually in good company with award winning stars like Nicole Kidman ("The Others") and Naomi Watts ("The Ring" 1 & 2) to name a couple. Here Chastain plays Annabel, a Suzi Quatro-like bassist in a punk rock band, complete with short dark hair and tatted up arms. She is the main squeeze of Lucas, a starving artist type played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, perhaps best known as the incestuous prince on "Game of Thrones."

The story begins with the twin brother of Lucas going on a killing rampage that includes fellow workers and his wife. He takes his 2 young daughters out into the country with similar intent. Before he can commit the deed a mysterious apparition intervenes. Five years later Lucas is still trying to find out what happened to his brother and nieces.

Ultimately found, the girls have somehow managed to survive but are little more than wild animals. Director Andres Muschietti manages to provide enough suspense to keep viewers on the edge on their seats using quick cuts and lighting. At the same time, he also resorts to the usual "gotcha" moments complete with a jolting sound effect.

Annabel is the main focus in the story however as the girlfriend who reluctantly has to take over child care duties after Lucas is hospitalized thanks to an induced fall down a flight of stairs. Chastain is excellent in the role and proves her dramatic range. "Mama" is an above average horror film that relies on suspense rather than gore for chilling effects. For me the ghostly presence's transformation to a CGI manifestation in the final act was unnecessary and changes the tone of the film somewhat. Still this is a pretty scary ghost story and worth a look.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just scary, but a very good fillm, May 9, 2013
By 
VIctoria Rae Black (Milwaukee,Wisconsin) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mama (Amazon Instant Video)
I never want to watch a horror movie 2 times in a row, but this movie I wanted to watch it again and again. It has a great story, and some pretty freaky moments. "Mama" is based off of CGI, and personally I didnt find her all that frightening.On the other hand the two little girls in this movie are very horrifying when they are making the adjustment back to reality. I suggest this movie strongly to those who love a thriller with a solid story.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Da Mama, July 22, 2013
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This review is from: Mama (Amazon Instant Video)
When a father of 2 children kills their mother, they find themselves being driven into the woods by their on edge father who is unsure of what to do about the situation. On an icy road the car swerves out of control and collides into a tree on the side of the road. The father and two daughters leave the wreck and enter a cabin in the woods (face palm) where the father explains to the kids that mommy is not coming with them. He attempts to shoot the two young girls aged around 2 and 4, but something else is in the house which stops him from killing the kids, and instead reverses his idea. The spirit known as mamma adopts the girls and we cut to 5 years later where the brother of the kids father is still in search of what ever happened to his brother and the kids? Finally they have been found, wild, weird and animalistic like. They are then taken to a hospital or psychiatric care facility or whatever before being put in the custody of their uncle and his girlfriend Joan Jett. It's not long before they begin to notice that something else has come with them, and it doesn't like the noobs.

WARNING SPOILER ALERTS: Don't read on unless you want to.

The first half of the movie is decent. However out of nowhere comes the idea that Mama is a bad entity and her history is revealed that she is a bad person. Her intention in the end is she is going to sacrifice the kids. Huh? First she rescues them, then raises them for 5 years, only to want to kill them? This protector to killer plot turn made no sense. She does not abuse them, she takes care of them, yet she is only waiting to kill them? Ok then... dumb idea... the kids become animal like and walk like their mama, like a monkey or something, yet instantly the eldest girl remembers how to walk upright and speak English... but the other one remains the same for a while, but slowly begins to return to human-like. Pick a direction already, are they f'd up, or not? They just become normal again and the youngest one they say probably wont speak just wakes her sister in the night by walking normally over to her and saying "mama's here"? It's not a huge plot hole, but to me it would be like Hulk Hogan breaking character in the middle of a wrestling match and asking for some tea while he plays a round of crochet with the Queen. They may as well have had mama stop to look into the camera, break the 4th wall and say calmly, "remember, this only a movie, don't be scared, look at me UN-rendered as a 3D polygon"

Then the ending. Are you kidding me? The cliff and mama is flying around all over the place? Make up your mind, is she a crawler or a flyer? It went from slightly believable to extremely laughable. And what was the point of the side story of the ghosts baby? She finds it, cries about it, euhh, bugger it, be angry. Was that needed if that's what the pay-off of that sub-story was about? They may as well have removed it all together, as it meant nothing in the movie. Then no big way to rid the ghost witch... nah, she'll do it herself and explode into butterflies. "Yes officer, we're ok now. One kid survived, but the other, well the butterfly witch committed suicide with her so we won't be needing her bed anymore, got a number for the Good Will?"

Overall: sucks you in enough to be interesting, then blows it in the end.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mama Is a really good movie, April 24, 2013
This review is from: Mama (DVD)
Really good movie. Reminds me a lot of the film The Woman In Black with Daniel Radcliffe. Mama is not a film i would consider "Scary" , but be mindful that, Mama does have its moments. I really admired and appreciated the pace of this film because so often horror films are really fast paced, that sometimes you can miss a key element or important plot point of the film. At 100 minutes I was expecting a quick,predictable movie. I am glad to say that is not the case with Mama. This is one of those RARE films that second after second, I was anxiously awaiting what was going to happen next. And THAT my friends, is a good thing. Jessica Chastain (being one of the better known stars of this movie) did a really great job as Annabel and the two young girls in the film, Lily and Victoria (Not known what their real names are) are absolutely splendid in Mama. The remaining supporting cast all did exceptionally well. And The Direction of this film is one of the best I have seen in quite awhile. I will not spoil any details of the story line, but if you watch this movie you are in for a pleasant surprise.

4 Stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Sad & Spooky, July 17, 2013
This review is from: Mama (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) (Blu-ray)
These days it seems like horror filmmakers are damned if they do and damned if they don't. The fans hate remakes but when they get original films, they refuse to support them over arbitrary reasons like ratings or a lack of blood. PG-13 or not, I made sure to get myself to the theater to see and support this and I wasn't at all disappointed. MAMA had an interesting story, impressive acting and a visually striking supernatural antagonist. There were definitely elements of Asian horror on display in this film, though MAMA relies a bit too much on CG. Thankfully the CG was animated relatively well so if you're willing to look beyond that and allow yourself to be swept up in the tension, MAMA is effective.

Sure, it won't be for everybody, and for fans of films like INSIDIOUS, SINISTER and THE CONJURING it may come off a bit lightweight but it was entertaining and, in my opinion, worth checking out. MAMA isn't amazing and just can't be considered a classic by any stretch of the word but it does the job.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, Emotional and Sometimes Even Scary, July 3, 2013
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This review is from: Mama (Amazon Instant Video)
I went into Mama with high expectations. I've always been a fan of pretty much anything that Guillermo Del Toro's name has been attached to, and did not think Mama would be any different. And it lived up to the quality guarantee that Del Toro set way back with The Orphanage. Mama is obviously scary at times, but it also has those emotional moments that most horror films lack.

The premise of Mama is about two girls who get abandoned in the woods after their father leaves them in a cabin there. Right off the bat, we discover that the girls didn't get left alone, as there's an entity of some sort living there with them. Five years later, the girls are found, and as these stories go, the entity moves into their new home with them.

Mama is one of those movies that starts out dark and terrifying. The two little girls, at first, are about as creepy as raised-in-the-woods-by-a-monster children can be, but as the movie progresses, they - along with the entity that accompanies them - start becoming more recognizable as human. And that's where the beauty of Mama lies - in learning about the entity and why she has become the thing that she is. She's still scary, but by the end of the film, you feel empathy for her, too.

There are also some very unique and original elements in the making of Mama as well. For example, the use of what seems to be old film footage to show scenes set in the past are used in a way I had not seen before. It helps set the tone between the past and the present and when the past melds back into the present, the effect used is something I'd never seen before. It's hard to describe (especially since I don't have a film degree), but it's very cool. And considering the present obsession with the same old tired tricks in horror films today, it's a refreshing change of pace.

Mama also boasts a pretty talented cast. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister, as most of us know him from Game of Thrones) portrays the uncle, Lucas, that is now taking care of the girls (he also plays the girls' father). He is convincing as an artist (and possibly a little bit of a slacker) who wants nothing more than to do right by his brother's daughters.

Jessica Chastain, one of Hollywood's new "it" girls, is brilliant as Lucas girlfriend. Her role is much more pivotal as she becomes a new mother figure for the girl, which means she is forced to suffer the wrath of the monster. What I loved about her character is that she's still as rough around the edges (she's in a rock band, for example), up until the end of the film. She stays true to the character. There's no major "I need to grow up and be responsible now" moment (I hate those anyway). She does realize that she loves the girls, but she's still true to herself.

Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nélisse portray the two children believably. And if that's them doing the creepy wild animal-like crawling on all fours at the beginning of the film, major kudos (that has to be CGI, right?). They go from being scary creatures themselves to fully realized human beings.

Mama is not a gore-fest or a jump-out-at-you scarefest. It is not a found footage film. It is one of those wonderful stories that just happens to be creepy during its telling. But it becomes even more than that and there's probably a good chance you'll need tissues before you exit the theater.
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Mama (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
Mama (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) by Andres Muschietti (Blu-ray - 2013)
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