Two young girls, Victoria en Lilly, are abducted by their father Jeffrey after he killed his wife and partner. On the run for the authorities Jeffrey loses control over his vehicle and ends up against a tree. Luckily nobody’s hurt and deeper into the woods they find a cabin where they can take shelter. There Jeffrey tries to take their lives, but before he succeeds “something” takes that seems to protect the girls takes his first.
Five years later the cabin as well as the girls get found by trackers Jeffreys brother lucas had hired. Victoria and Lilly are completely bewildered and nobody has a clue how they managed to stay alive for so long, but Lucas nonetheless couldn’t be happier. He decides to raise the two together with his girlfriend Annabel, and with the help of psychologist Dr. Dreyfuss they get a house at their disposal.
However, what they don’t realise is that the “something” that has been protecting the girls from their father and kept them alive has followed them and isn’t planning on letting the girls go free so easily…
Mama is based on a three minute short made by Andrés en Barbara Muschietti which got noticed by none other than Guillermo Del Toro (Pacific Rim, Hellboy) opgemerkt werd. Del Toro was so impressed that he put his shoulders under the project as producer and as such we now have this 100 minute feature film that luckily isn’t just an extended version of the original.
Andrés remained as director, and got Jessica Chastain (Lawless, Texas Killing Fields) in the lead as Annabel while Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (New Amsterdam) got to play both Lucas and Jeffrey. The work of both, as well as of the little ones playing Victoria and Lilly, are quite decent and we start wondering when Jessica Chastain will finally get her big breakthrough as now also with black hair she’s a woman that has no issue filling the screen (and then we’re talking about presence, not volume!!).
And still… Mama couldn’t completely convince us. The scares are good, and the story as such also has enouh substance to fill easily 90 minutes, but the background is brought forward quite awkwardly, several visual effects seem to have come from a 10 year old videogame, and the ending is also a bit of a letdown. Further we also found the character of Mama as such quite good, but we’re growing tired of the ghosts that mimic the movements first seen in The Ring.
If you’re looking for a fun horror movie with good scares and reasonably decent acting, then Mama is a good choice, but it will never become a classic in its genre.
For a small horror movie we get a more than decent presentation that’s absent of clear compression errors. The level of detail is very good and the image looks sharp, but what mostly gets noticed is that the ending is almost completely absent of color, while also the “dreams” (if you can call them as such) don’t look pretty at all and some Visual effects as said seem to come from an old videogame. However, this isn’t due to the transfer so we can’t give negative comment on that.
The DTS-HD 5.1 track does its job perfectly by bringing forth clear dialogues while music goes up in volume when tension rises without overwhelming subtle effects coming from the rears. Nicely done and perfectly set up for creating additional tension at the right moments
Qua extras we get the original short, followed by “The Birth of Mama” which is a short but interesting behind the scenes (10 minutes) in which cast & crew give background on the project and what they tried to achieve. There’s also some deleted scenes and another short feature on the visual effects (16 minutes). Last up is an audio commentary in which the Muschietti siblings talk about just everything surrounding the production.