Movie Review: Mama

I don't know why me and sis chose to watch this horror film on the 2nd day of Raya but what's done can't be undone. We were interested since we saw the trailer but finally we gathered enough courage to watch this offering by Guillermo del Toro.

A desperate man, Jeffrey flees with his 2 young daughters, Victoria and Lilly after murdering his colleagues and his wife. However the car they were in swerved off the road into the woods and they survived, finding their way to a seemingly abandoned cabin. He then attempts to murder his daughter but something stops and kills him. In the dark, illuminated by the glow of the fire in the hearth, the girls cuddle and a cherry fruit is tossed to them from the dark.

Fast-forward to 5 yrs later, investigators hired by Lucas, Jeffrey's twin brother, found the girls in the cabin, living in deplorable conditions and acting like animals (growling and crawling around on all fours). They are rescued and placed in a psychiatric ward where Dr Dreyfuss records his conversation with Victoria (Lilly was too young when her father "left" them so cannot communicate much), asking questions about their experience with minimal human contact. He deduced that 'Mama' is an imaginary protector that the girls conjured during their isolation. He makes a deal with Lucas; he'll support Lucas' bid to win custody claim against Jean, the girls' maternal grand-aunt, and in return he'll house Lucas and the girls in a home used for case studies and have full access to research the girls' "rehabilitation" into a normal life.

Lucas' girlfriend, Annabel reluctantly moves in, especially when Mama appears and injures Lucas, leaving him in a comatose state. Mama's appearances become more frequent and sinister, forcing Annabel and Dreyfuss to investigate the ghost's history and rescue the girls from an increasingly jealous mother ghost. 

Jessica Chastain stood out as the rocker chick who turned into serious mother material, not forgetting she looks good with dark hair! The performances of Isabelle N√©lisse and Megan Charpentier is notable; ghosts are spooky but kids with haunted looks and feral behavior are WAY creepy. 

Produced by Fernando Velazquez, the music increases in tension and suspense as the story peaks. The scene where Annabel hears the girls singing a lullaby and joined by a lower, female voice is a terrifying one, with quiet notes turning it into a very sinister moment.

I'm still bat-shit scared thinking about the film; I went out for dinner at a family restaurant right after watching the film, and the bunch of giggling kids at the adjacent table gave me the willies. It's a pretty good film, you can sympathize with the ghost and understand the bond it has with the girls. It kinda puts perspective on the question "can a ghost go mad after a long long time?"

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