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Mama
BLU-RAY disk
05.17.2013 By: Jason Adams
Mama order download
Director:
Andres Muschietti

Actors:
Jessica Chastain
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Megan Charpentier

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After miraculously surviving on their own for five years in the woods, two young sisters are adopted by their uncle and his girlfriend, who soon find out they've brought someone or something sinister with them.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?

If scientists invented a cloning machine, the first person that should be duplicated for the sake of humanity is Guillermo del Toro. Even in his capacity as a producer, he turns out work that almost always bears the signature and quality of his directed films. And MAMA is no different.

MAMA wallows in its dark atmosphere and mood. It borrows a lot of its visuals and scares from other movies (THE EXORCIST, J-Horror, Hitchcock, and obviously del Toro), but does so effectively and respectfully. The script has its share of contrivances, coincidences and dumb decisions, but there are genuinely frightening moments throughout to pick up the slack. (The film also makes the most of its PG-13 rating, including one great use of the F-word.) Even if you take away all the supernatural stuff and the CGI ghost scares, MAMA is still pretty creepy. The images of the animalistic children in the woods are enough.

But MAMA is chock full of the supernatural and the title character ranges from spooky to silly. A lot of the visual effects were done practically by a really skinny guy in Mama prosthetics, which is great—except that it's so augmented by CGI and filtered to death that it looks completely animated. Her look and backstory provide for some gruesome scenes and overall she's an effective horror character, but when they show Mama full-on toward the end she loses a lot of her scariness.

The movie's cast is what helps to elevate it beyond typical genre fare. Game of Thrones' Kingslayer, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is solid as the helpless uncle trying to make the best of a horrible situation. The two child actresses themselves are both rather remarkable; not once did I not buy them in their roles, which are admittedly tough to begin with. However, it's Oscar-nominee Jessica Chastain who continues to impress as a punk rock, bass playing young woman who's completely forced to be a mother to two children she clearly doesn't want. Chastain plays the character with layers that go beyond your average scream queen. It's a believable performance in the kind of movie that usually stretches believability, helping to sell the story even when it gets weird and kind of goofy in the final act.

THE EXTRAS

Commentary: Director Andres Muschietti and his sister/co-writer Barbara prove to be fairly engaging speakers, with plenty to say about the origins of the spooky tale and their working relationship with del Toro. There are some lulls in the conversation, which left me wishing that the Mad Mexican had been included on the track as well.

Deleted Scenes (7:31): You get six with optional commentary, none of which prove that necessary.

Original MAMA Short (4:32): GDT introduces the short, which is almost completely replicated in the full-length film.

The Birth of MAMA (9:34): Interviews with del Toro and the rest of the cast/crew walk you behind-the-scenes of the production.

Matriarchal Secrets (6:00): A look at the visual effects , which reveal that more of them were practical than you think.

The set comes with a Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital Copy and UltraViolet.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS

MAMA is a Guillermo del Toro movie through and through (and better than DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK) so if you're a fan of his sensibilities in the horror genre, I'm confident you'll dig it.

Extra Tidbit: Can we have goth Jessica Chastain in more movies, please?

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6:29AM on 05/17/2013
Great visuals and camerawork, overshadowed by a ghost story with every cliche ever present in every ghost movie, and an ending so nonsensical David Lynch would give this a thumbs down. 4/10
Great visuals and camerawork, overshadowed by a ghost story with every cliche ever present in every ghost movie, and an ending so nonsensical David Lynch would give this a thumbs down. 4/10
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5:25AM on 05/17/2013
I enjoyed it, but I wish he would make more fantasy and sci fi and less of that kind of horror.
I enjoyed it, but I wish he would make more fantasy and sci fi and less of that kind of horror.
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2:24AM on 05/17/2013
The back story for the titular ghost is so absurd and stupid, it killed any tension for me, and caused the ending to signify absolutely nothing, since Mama's purpose was flip-floppy.
The back story for the titular ghost is so absurd and stupid, it killed any tension for me, and caused the ending to signify absolutely nothing, since Mama's purpose was flip-floppy.
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