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Showing 1-10 of 988 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,200 reviews
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 8, 2017
I lost count of how many times I jumped during this film. As always with Guillermo del Toro the ending was not what I was expecting, but if you're a fan of his other films you'll love this one. If you like scary movies, check this out. I definitely didn't sleep for a couple days after!
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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 January 8, 2014
In three easy bullet points:

--stylish: as you would expect Del Toro to be. A very creepy movie. How do you make an 8 year old girl creepy? Del Toro can show you.
--good acting: it has Jessica Chastain, way before she hit paydirt with Zero Dark Thirty.
--adds nothing: typical ghost story, nothing unexpected, adds nothing that hasn't been done before. A ghost, a haunted house in the woods, a madwoman, nothing new here.

All-in-all a good rental, but there's better stuff available too.
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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 28, 2016
This movie was super creepy. I NEVER get goose bumps from horror movies, but there were a couple scenes that definitely made me jump. The cinematography was good and the story was much better than I expected for something in this genre. It's a good movie. Watch it. Just don't watch it alone in the dark.
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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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on August 28, 2015
This film, like all his films, is a great ghost story with a powerful punch. The characters, the story line, the filming, the casting, everything is perfect.
This is NOT film for the immature. If you still insist Rose only falls asleep at the end of Titanic, this ending is not for you. It requires maturity to see the beauty of it. It requires much more compassion and empathy for "the villain" than these films normally ask.
Despite the profound story line, the scares do not suffer. Much is actor driven, but the actual ghost/spirit, or whatever Mama is, is pure scare delight!
She has an odd shaped head, though, which put me off once I saw it was always odd shaped. I don't understand that but it doesn't take away form the story.
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This movie was alright. I was sorta bored throughout the whole beginning/middle. I never saw it in theaters but was excited to see it so cheap on amazon. It had all the horror effects and drama, but it just didn't seem that great to me. Some parts were a bit scary but nothing bad. I would rate this 3/5 stars or 60-70%.
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on June 7, 2017
I was hoping for something like "Pan's Labyrinth", a movie I love, this one wasn't as good, but it has some great chill moments.
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