The horror flick MAMA was released this weekend nationwide grossing slightly more than $28 million at the box office and was the number one movie Americans went to see at the theater. Guillermo del Toro is the lead producer with Andrés Muschietti directing and writing the script.
Filmed in Canada the movie depicts bleak, dark scenes throughout and opens to news accounts of a stock market crash and a desperate father, Lucas, who apparently killed his business partner and wife, though we only know this from news accounts on the radio. The father, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, scoops up his two children from their large house and drives far away to parts unknown until he crashes his Mercedes in the woods. After the crash they come upon an old abandoned cabin whereas the father, out of desperation, goes to kill his children and likely himself until some unknown force protects the children from certain death. They are discovered five years after the incident by hired trackers of Lucas's brother Jeffrey.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays both the father and the father's brother, and does an excellent job, as do all the actors in this film - young and old. Jeffrey and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain) fight in court to raise the two girls from a uptight Aunt Jean (Jane Moffat). Interestingly Jane also plays the voice of MAMA, and the physical character of MAMA is actually played by a man, actor Javier Botet. Annabel is an unconvincing punk rocker who converts to a suburban mother figure in the quest to have the two girls return to some order in their so far undeveloped lives. But MAMA gets a bit jealous of Annabel when the girls begin to enjoy the comfort of suburban life as opposed to a cold dark cabin in the woods.
The movie has enough quick comedic moments to keep the movie from being too heart pounding and has enough quick shockers to keep you in your seat. At our pre-screening last week there were plenty of screams from the audience. MAMA kept the audience engaged, was well written and was a pleasure to watch - even for those not normally "into" horror flicks.