The ghost haunting genre has been done to death at this point. More often than not they just don’t offer anything new to the genre or even as films. They latest to tackle the subject comes in the form of Mama, produced by Guillermo del Toro and features Jessica Chastain, but is that enough to deliver something new or will it be just be another film that needs to be exorcised?
Mama follows a man along with his girlfriend forced to raise his young nieces after the death of his brother that left them alone in the forest for 5 years. Taking on the difficult task becomes more challenging when it becomes clear that they may not have come out of the forest alone. Surprisingly this film delivers pretty well overall despite its standard PG-13 rating. Chastain does a fine job as usual, but the overall vibe of her character almost doesn’t really seem to have a point, but at the same time doesn’t affect the finished product. For this film to really work falls in the hands of the young girls who have to be likeable and creepy all at once and they succeed. This aspect of the story is what helps to step it out of the shadows of every other film in this genre to deliver something a bit more fresh. For the majority of the film it works really well, giving some great build up and development, but loses a bit of steam in the finale. It doesn’t ruin the movie or anything it just gets predictable and shows too much of Mama. Throughout the buildup you see here numerous times, but they keep it in the shadows and quick glances and it works perfectly to create a truly creepy character, but once she is fully revealed is a bit silly looking. With that being said, it still works and some of the direction they do go with the finale was a bit unexpected which makes up a bit for the disappointing reveal.
This film is one of the better of the genre to come along in some time. While the trailers attempted to lead you to believe it might be scary, this film sports more of a creepy nature than anything scary, but still works fine. The little girls make this film especially the younger of the two who is just disturbing on numerous levels throughout the film. If you enjoy this genre, then Mama is defiantly one you will want to give a try.