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Mama [Blu-ray]
Format: Blu-ray|Change
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on October 12, 2015
Much better than I thought it would be. Very much a "de Toro film" feel - same dark, beautiful film qualities, great atmosphere, unique character/monster designs, etc. As per usual with de Toro, this movie is more of a Dark Fantasy story than a traditional Horror story - if you aren't familiar with other pieces of his work like "Pan's Labyrinth" or "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark", think about it like the old original European/Grimm's fairy tales - gory, creepy, filled with dead bodies - definitely not Disney. Without giving anything away, the ending is about as "happy" as would be possible in the setting of the movie. Well acted, the kids are amazing, the artwork used during the titles and elsewhere is beautiful, tightly scripted, and ending comes full circle leaving the viewer strangely satisfied. Good scares, used wisely, not just jumping out of your skin with loud sounds every 4mins. If you like del Toro, definitely should watch.
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on March 13, 2017
Good plot, little girls were great actresses. I didn't like the lead woman till the end. It had some freaky scary moments. A good ghost story. Not at all gory. Teens could watch it. The ghost does the slender thing. Liked that it was original. And the characters didn't make a thousand mistakes . the ending is both sad and meaningful. All the mean people croak . keeping this one and looking for more by this writer and director
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on November 26, 2013
Horror films for the most part have been a disappointment in the last few decades. They either rely on jolt scares or excessive gore to compensate for atmosphere and a good creepy story. 'Mama' has a little of all those things I mentioned, but never using them to propel the story or to give you false goose bumps.

I was impressed with 'Mama' as it delivers much more than I expected it to. It's got a pretty creepy ghost story and I can't remember that last time I watched a horror film and genuinely felt creeped out wondering what was behind that door or what they were going to see next. Besides the good creep factor, it also has some pathos, which is sorely missed from a lot of horror films today, I mean, who will ever forget Karloff's portrayal of the Frankenstein Monster? Or Lon Chaney Jr.'s Wolf Man? Those films just wouldn't be the same without them. Mama has a little of this going for it too as the ghost in the story which I found creepy as hell (even if a little bizarre looking) also makes you have some empathy for this unfortunate creature or spirit. Sure there are some contrivances, but what horror film doesn't have those?

If you're looking for a somewhat old fashioned chiller then Mama may be something you want to check out. Turn the lights out and take a look at Mama! The Blu Ray looks and sounds great and there are some interesting extras to check out after the film.
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This movie has excellent jump factor. It was not so much HORRIFYING as it was freakish and creepy? Why is the littlest girl prone to running on all fours? Why does she hide in boxes? Why not open the closet door? Who, what is MAMA?

If you liked The Ring and The Grudge, you will like this. In all fairness, this movie takes the genre up several notches because the outdoor shots are gorgeous. The indoor shots can sometimes be too dark, and it gives one (me at least) a slight feeling of being cheated. But then the darkness is part of the story.

If you are on anti-depressants, eat a fistful before watching. I admit there were three points at which I was moved to tears. I won't spoil it for those about to watch. You will know the points when they occur. If you have kids, you will recognize the tearjerker scenes all too well.

Even now, thinking about those scenes really makes me uncomfortable.

For overall emotional impact, this really is a five-star effort. The 1s and 2s are most likely from folks who think REAL HORROR is Halloween or Friday the 13th. The psychological fear and apprehension generated by many of the scenes in this movie far outweigh the gruesome scenes of teens being impaled on various farming implements --without the gruesomeness. It is free of any gore, although, again, some scenes can be disturbing.

I strongly recommend that you grab a cold drink and some hot buttered popcorn, turn off all the lights ---and enjoy!
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on June 9, 2013
It was a creepy movie. Mama was well-drawn, and she did creep me out a few times. She's kind of awesome. I liked her. She was insane, of course, but I understood her motivation for clinging to the children and trying to keep them from their uncle and his girlfriend. They did explain (albeit obliquely) why mama looks the way she does, and it made sense to me. I've heard others saying the CGI bothered them, but it wasn't an issue for me. mama looked pretty real to me most of the time. If I had been watching on a huge HDTV instead of on the computer, it might have been different.

*Mild spoilers* The only thing about this movie that didn't seem to ring true was a dream the male character had at one point where the children's father asks him to "Save my girls." I was like, "what? The dad was going to kill the girls. Now his ghost is begging his brother to save them? Maybe he changed his mind or something." The character of the children's father, and his ghost, didn't seem consistent to me. Why isn't his ghost fighting just as hard for the children as Mama is? Don't know. But that's the only thing that didn't work for me.
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on December 31, 2013
May contain spoilers!

Who says all ghosts have to kill everyone for no reason? Mama is the story of Lilly and Victoria who are raised by an entity called Mama after their father has a bad day at the office and decides his, and the rest of his family's, life is over. The uncle and his I-don't-want-no-children girlfriend, Annabelle, are left to raise Lilly and Victoria. After Annabelle is forced to take care of the girls because Uncle boyfriend has an accidental fall (thanks to Mama), she discovers her own maternal instincts and takes a liking to Victoria and Lilly. Meanwhile, the psych doctor has discovered that the girls know Mama to be a crazy mother from the 1800's who committed a partially failed suicide. I say partially failed because she was trying to kill herself and her baby by jumping off of a cliff (which remarkably resembled Pride Rock from The Lion King). They baby was snagged on a limb and only Mama made the successful suicide. So Mama died without her baby - which the nuns from the church were trying to keep her from. When crazy dad takes the girls into the woods to kill himself and them, Mama intervenes and snaps dad's neck - saving the girls.

So Mama has spent the last few years raising the girls - feeding them cherries, singing to them, taking them on midnight joy rides through the air, and protecting them (they do a good job of portraying this in the credits - very clever). But when Uncle Brother's search team finds the girls, Mama isn't happy.

So this isn't your typical "I want everyone dead - because I can" movie. Mama only wants her girls. Mama dwells with the girls at the new house unbeknownst to Annabelle. That is until the good doctor digs too deep and threatens to interfere. So Mama takes him out and decides it's time to take the girls to the only place where she can be with them without anyone interfering - "Pride Rock". Annabelle and Uncle Brother try to save them by giving Mama the remains of her dead baby from long ago. But really, which would you rather have - a sack of dried up bones? Or two living children? Victoria (the oldest) has taken a liking to Annabelle, but Lilly loves creepy Mama - seemingly because that's really all she knows. What's interesting is that Mama doesn't kill Annabelle because she supposedly promised Victoria that she wouldn't. With her last bit of strength, Annabelle clings to Victoria to stop her from going over the cliff. Mama shows some compassion and lets Annabelle keep Victoria. The movie ends with Mama going over the cliff with Lilly. They are cloaked in some dark shroud and burst into a cloud of black moths after they hit the same branch that Mama's baby was snagged on. Roll credits.

Ok - so 'Mama' has a decent hook. You get a silhouette of Mama in the first 10 minutes and the credits do a good job of portraying some needed exposition. And it's interesting to see that Mama is doing what she does best - being a protective Mama. So when Uncle Brother comes along, you can sympathize with someone taking 'her kids'.

All three acts are pretty clear. The change comes when Mama is done tolerating everyone trying to take her kids away. The climax could have been a bit more suspenseful. It seems to have more story than scary bits. Which isn't a total waste, but they really could have had Mama play more of her creepy self. You really only get a lot of Mama near the end of act 2 and 3. The acting was pretty good. How they get younger kids to do what they do is pretty amazing. The little girl who plays Lilly was great. Annabelle, Jessica Chastain, is the clear protagonist and is an identifiable character. Uncle Brother wasn't very useful - but effective.

I watched this movie twice if that says anything. I thought it had a good story - like Insidious. But if you're looking in your face scary parts - you might be better with something like Paranormal Activity.
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on September 17, 2015
I have thinking about the movie all day. This is my 1st Guillermo del Toro movie. Reading the reviews I was curious so I rented it with the intent of buying it if I loved it. The cinematography was one of the most beautiful jobs I've ever seen on a horror film.The acting by Jessica Chastian was great. The girls who portrayed Lily and Victoria are truly phenomenal little actresses.

The story unfold beautiful. It was suspensful and I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire movie. The story affected me very deeply. I'm still trying to come to terms with how it ended. Not going to spoil it for everyone but the ending was not for me (the reason for only 4 stars)
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on December 22, 2013
It is so hard to find a horror movie with a good story. Most horror movies rely on jump scare but what makes a perfect horror is the good story that puts everything together. This movie has all of that.

This movie contains good scary parts. The fact that little girls are involved always make the movie scarier. There are some minor goofs but nothing that would spoil the bigger picture. The creators did an amazing job by making the movie scary enough to keep you entertained without overwhelming you. This movie is a good change from most of the horror jump scare movies they have been showing recently.

Last but not least, I would like to say that little Isabelle did an amazing acting job in her role. Very good performance for such a young actress.

I recommend this movie!
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on May 19, 2013
I love this director and Pan's Labyrinth is one of my favorite movies. I missed Mama in theaters and have been anxiously awaiting its release ever since. There were a few things that kept me from giving this the full five stars, however. The little girls were great, especially the younger one who was totally convincing as a sort of feral child. The uncle who searched for them and ultimately tried to adopt them was either a bad cast or the character was really poorly developed. Whatever the case, it seemed like he was just taking up space; interesting departure for Jessica Chastain as the goth girlfriend. Additionally, I found it difficult to follow much of the action because the movie was so dark--not just the story line (which is VERY dark) but dark as in hard to see. I realize this was done to set a particular mood but it was extraordinarily hard to make out much of what was happening.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it if you like this horror/suspense genre.
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on May 14, 2013
OK, it's been two days since I actually paid to watch a movie. UNreal for me! I'm that poor - I wait until they are on Netflix for that flat rate fee of $7.99. I'm not cheap, I'm just a woman of very few means. For now. Maybe forever since I am elderly now. Sigh, how low have we fallen. ANYWAY .... I'm trying so hard to remember the ending but I cannot! If what I remember is correct, then I was not terribly impressed. The movie itself though - from the beginning to almost the very end, was good! Good acting, sets, dialogue, the works! I liked ALL that and then some -- the special effects of how Mama looked were really different! But that, too, could've used a bit more imagination about 'beauty' and 'ugly by self-hatred' ... anyway, save your $5 and wait for it to be on Netflix! LOL I STILL give it a four because I DID like it but if I had a do-over? I would wait. YOU decide now! :-)
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