Director: Andres Muschetti
Cast: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jessica Chastain, Megan Charpentier
Runninig Time: 100 minutes
Release: 22 February
Horror movies featuring creepy children—girls, specifically—are common currency. Mama, the debut feature by Andres Muschetti, does nothing to buck this trend. Under the guidance of Guillermo Del Toro, he’s crafted an unoriginal horror with a few genuine shocks, but little else going for it. Two girls are left alone in the woods after their father, Jeffrey (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) shoots their mother and kidnaps them. As he prepares to murder his daughters, the titular character—a gruesome apparition—manages to snatch him away, presumably killing him, leaving the two girls to be raised by the ghost. After five years of searching, Jeffrey’s twin brother, Lucas (also Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) finds them in a deserted cabin. The children, now feral, are taken in by Lucas and his Chrissie Hynde look-a-like girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain).
Mama is boring and predictable. The film moves from horror sequence to horror sequence, strung together by wooden dialogue and poor acting on the part of Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. It’s reasonable to assume that the film was made at least two years ago before Chastain had achieved her Golden Globe win and her current status, and is now being released to simply cash in on this. As mentioned, there are some interesting flourishes by the first-time director Andres Muschetti, but they’re few and far between. The whole film is very much straight-to-DVD fare with unoriginal twists throughout the story. There’s also a near-laughable final act involving a cliff and a tree branch that cheapens all that came before.
Overall, Mama is a flat and uninteresting horror that’s entirely forgettable. While there are one or two somewhat decent sequences, the woeful script, lazy plot and general lack of quality throughout brings them down. Avoid.