Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Supernatural thriller? I don't know if that's the category I'd put "MAMA" under. Certainly it had its freaky moments but it was more of a psychological film that made you think and pulled at your heart strings.
The previews did not do this movie justice. WIth just a camera following around a girl hiding in the corners of a hallway chanting "mama", you think it's just another horror film that you can add to the list of many. But this is not the case. "MAMA" is an entirely different type of scary movie that has a decent backstory that actually makes some sort of sense (as much as these films can) .
The film starts off in front of a house with a car radio blaring the weather and a door left open with no one in it. Then a distraught husband is seen fleeing from the house with his two adorable children, telling them "mama doesn't feel well. We have to go!"
Five years later, after spending those years looking for them, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's (Game of Thrones) character Lucas (their uncle) finds them in an abandoned cabin, disheveled, living off cherries, taken care of by a entity they refer to as 'mama.' But as in every scary movie, 'mama' follows them to their new house, causing distress to Lucas and his rocker girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain).
I spent the entire time watching the movie wondering WHAT 'mama's motivate was to take care of these two girls and why she protected them so much. Thankfully this question was answered towards the end of the movie, but like most scary movies, the answer to what happened to the girls' mother, was not.
But once the answers are revealed and you think that all is resolved, the story lingers for another 20 minutes, as if the writers struggled with whether to kill off its main characters or keep them alive.
As far as acting, Jessica Chastain owns this movie. The unreconizable "Zero Dark Thirty" actress takes on a whole new role in this horror film but it's not the supernatural "mama" whom takes over her pail complection, but a rockstar with tattoos up and down her arm and a short, black wig. With more serious roles such as in "The Help", one wouldn't think this would be Chastain's ideal role, but she played it very well.
Along side Chastain's acting, the revealing of 'mama' helped to set the film apart from its scary movie counterparts. Most scary movies decide not to reveal the supernatural 'thing' until the end, and some, not at all. But 10 minutes in and the audience got to see what 'mama' might look like. As the film went on, more and more of her was revealed until eventually her entire self.
From moths showing up throughout the house to a gooey substance showing up on walls and hair running across hardwood floors, Mama seems to take on a life of her own, keeping the audience engaged into what could this mysterious creature actually be.
Also making the film unique was the backstory. Many scary films don't bother to reveal much of a plot, and some, are just repeats. "MAMA" had an interesting and different story that had not been told before; one that kept the audience on it's toes, wondering what would happen next.
For those wanting more from a scary movie, this is a thriller that will having you playing mystery alongside it's characters.