Mama (2013)

mama_1Starring Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet, Jane Moffat, Morgan McGarry, David Fox, Dominic Cuzzocrea, Christopher Marren

Directed by Andrés Muschietti

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


If I were to judge movies solely on how much they entertained me, then Mama would rank pretty high. Not at the level of a favorite, or even a great experience, but one that simply does its job and delivers the fun supernatural thrills I’m looking for in a ghost story. The plot isn’t all that hard to figure out if you’ve seen any previous ghost story, but the creepy tactics it uses to sell itself were more than enough to win me over. I rarely get scared anymore during these kinds of films, but even after I had turned the lights back on after the movie I was still twisting my head to look behind me, convinced that Mama was there to swallow my soul.

The film opens during the 2008 financial crisis that swept the US, and one man affected by it has snapped. He kills his wife and drives away on icy, dangerous roads with his two young daughters. Their car goes over an embankment, but they survive and seek refuge in an old cabin in the woods. He clearly isn’t a horror movie fan, as you know as well as I do that you should generally turn around if you encounter a creepy old cabin in the middle of nowhere. Ah, but if they did, we wouldn’t have a film! From here, the story goes into an unexpected but fun direction, but I will say no more. In a film that hits a lot of the same notes as many other ghost stories, you need to know the least amount possible so that the film is able to play with all the cards in its deck.

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