johnlink ranks MAMA (2013)

Today brings another October horror movie to log. MAMA is a modern ghost story which was released earlier this year. It was relatively well received in theaters by the patrons who passed through, though it was a media darling by no means.


I watched MAMA (2013) on 10.21.13. It was my first viewing of the film.

A man goes crazy and kills his business partners and his wife before throwing his kids in the car and losing control down a mountain and into the snowy wilderness. He is about to do something unthinkable when a ghostly entity intervenes.

Flash forward several years and the man’s brother is still looking for his kin. Lucas (Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) hires folks to search the woods. Found are the two girls, without their father, having lived in the wild for five years.

Now eight and six, they move in with Lucas and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain). But the entity which protected them, which they call Mama, is none to thrilled about her girls being taken away.

This is a horror film which attempts both substance and style. It succeeds in some ways and stumbles in others. The art it direction is nice. The creepy ghost effects work. The jump scares are minimal, deferring instead to ambiance driven creepiness. This movie usually looks good.

But then, sometimes, it doesn’t. The end is so washed out in blue filters as to make the world lose its attachment to reality. The climactic confrontation attempts to be bigger and more powerful than it really is. Points are certainly to be given to an unexpected and unique finale, but the movie hasn’t quite earned the moment. This is reinforced when a character (and this is as spoiler free as possible) who seemed to be dead instead is alive.

Plus, for those who have seen this, what happens after this movie ends? What happens next to this family. Who would believe all that has happened? The bodies and missing persons would be blamed on a ghost? I mean, you would think that the survivors are probably going to jail for crimes committed by an aberration.

MAMA is another horror movie with nice moments, with a few new ideas, and with very capable artists framing both the pretty and the macabre in pleasing ways. The acting isn’t bad (the two young girls, especially, are very effective). The story is mostly fresh. The writing is not bad even if the metaphors are a little too obvious and the flashbacks a little too convenient.

Yet, there seems to be something missing. There seems to be a lack of something special to push it over the edge into greatness. An audience will keep waiting for that moment to happen, and it never will. It doesn’t make MAMA a bad movie, not by a long shot, but it does make it just another above-average and highly watchable horror flick which will be hard to distinguish from another after a year goes by.





~ by johnlink00 on October 22, 2013.

One Response to “johnlink ranks MAMA (2013)”

  1. Really good review, I agree with everything you said. Especially the last paragraph, re waiting for something big to happen. Only difference is that I disliked this film a fair bit more than you.

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