Genre : Horror
Country : Spain
Javier Botet : Mama
Jessica Chastain : Annabel
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau : Lucas / Jeffrey
Megan Carpentier : Victoria
Isabelle Nélisse : Lilly
Daniel Kash : Dr. Dreyfuss
The senior partner of an investment brokerage, Jeffrey Desange, has a breakdown due to a financial collapse and kills several co-workers and his estranged wife. He then kidnaps his two young daughters. He drives his car recklessly through a winding snow covered road. He loses control of his car and drives off an embankment. He finds an abandoned and isolated cabin where he plans to kill his daughters, but the children are saved by a dark ghostly image. After five years of searching and depleting his savings, Jeffrey’s twin brother, Lucas, finds the children that were raised without social interaction and claim that they have been raised by ‘Mama’.
“Daddy,look! There’s a woman outside the window.And she’s not touching the floor.”
“Mama” has all the elements to make it a great, creepy horror movie. It starts very strong with a somewhat hazy situation with a desperate father who killed his wife and abducts his children to an unknown destination. I suppose it’s a family tragedy in the making caused by an economic crisis. However, the plan to kill the two sisters Victoria and Lilly goes awry after an accident in which they end up in a remote cabin in the woods. Here, the father ultimately can’t carry out his act of desperation by the intervention of a blurred (as seen through the eyes of Victoria who is visually impaired) being who appears to be “Mama” afterwards. What follows is for me one of the most impressive forbearing scenes of this movie, namely when the two girls are found after 5 years. The image of the two swinging, smeared with mud, humming sisters on the refrigerator where they moved to with high speed in an arachnid way. Succeeded by the images in the psychiatric institution where the sisters are in observation and where it’s shown how they have evolved into the skittish underdeveloped beings through their prolonged isolation. The moment when Victoria suddenly appears in the viewing window is an impetus for similar horror elements and it made me think of Samara from “The Ring“.
When Luke, the brother of the missing father who has custody of the two sisters, moves into a house, which is offered by the institution where the accompanying psychiatrist works, together with Annabel his girlfriend, it appears that something else has nested itself there too. Luke ends up in the hospital because of “Mama”, so Annabel is all alone to take care of the two sisters and that’s when the trouble starts.The story on its own has been told countless times in other haunted-house movies. Although it is not really a haunted-house movie in the purest sense of the word. A bundle of cliches from other horror movies pass in review including the soundtrack. Ok, it’s cheap but I have to admit that most horror movies depend on it, and without it, it seems rather that you have seen a fairy tale instead of an unnerving horror/scary movie. In other words, it has to be like this.
Eventually I thought it was a frightening movie with a very intense atmosphere and properly placed scare moment (and I’m not easily scared). Again this shows that a good horror doesn’t always require the necessary gore elements to make it oppressive. Personally I thought the end was a bit far-fetched with a baby corpse kept in an archive and the in a huge swarm of moths bursting cocoon. Just like in “The Woman in Black” the found remedy doesn’t eliminate the curse.
Link : IMDB