Now listen to me Mama! Mama! You’re taking away my last chance!
Well, someone has to watch these things.
I’ve actually avoided this movie for a little while because the trailers scared the poop right out of my slacks and into a career. Mama, the latest offering from Guillermo “Would someone please remove the shock collar so that I can do my fuckin’ H.P. Lovecraft movie, por favor?” del Toro, was a hit just waiting to…well…hit.
Starring Jessica Chastain as Davey Havok from AFI, this movie looked like it had all the pieces together: a newly minted A-List actress, feral kids, creepy shit in the background, jump scares, murders, and dark places galore. You don’t need much to make a good horror movie; Dario Argento proved that, with just about every movie he’s ever made, you don’t even need logic. So when there was none of that here, I wasn’t blown to bits with dismay.
Mama is a really frustrating movie, though, from beginning to end. On the one hand, the cinematography is pretty nice. On the other hand, the acting performances range from “fist in the butt” to “I’m pretty sure I’m dying.” One hand, the mood and pacing is amazing. Other hand, the main special effect of the movie, Mama herself, was obviously created in MS Paint by a sandwich artist who moonlights as a corpse. One hand, they mercifully kept this flick at a running time of less than two hours. Other hand, I’m pretty sure that the 25 minutes missing from the film were the 25 minutes that ensured it would make sense. Someone, almost certainly a vicious sadist, must have set a torch to this footage and all means of reproducing it.
In all fairness, I’m pretty sure I was enjoying this movie for the first hour or so. The two little feral kids bugged the hell out of me, but kids being feral always makes me like them more. I can only imagine if these were just a couple of normal kids…
…and Jessica Chastain was pretty OK in this, although the wig they saddled her with was quite the paper bag and anyone would’ve had trouble acting their way out of it. I don’t remember the uncle’s name, but he was pretty awful and made me sad for the upcoming generations of Sean Bean lookalikes. I guess the other people were pretty crappy, too, but it’s not really my job to gauge the skill of professional liars, so I’ll need to update this later with some third-party verification.
I’m your biggest fan, I’ll follow you until you love me, papa-paparazzi.
And then, there’s Mama. Upon watching this film, it will be very apparent that this creature is Sissy Spacek. Unfortunately, Ms. Spacek did not lend her image, any mapped movements or dialogue to this character, which savagely bruises the integrity of the character. Mama had some serious throat-clicking and gurgling going on, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count for an acting credit.
Beyond that, the last half of this movie is an absolute trainwreck. There’s a really excellent flashback/dream sequence scene that “explains” the origins of Mama as a person, but past that, there’s really not a whole lot of anything. This gal’s a ghost, right? But maybe a demon, too? At the very least, she’s a creep, and *SPOILER ALERT* the fact that she’s either inbred and/or maybe a bit retarded isn’t the panacea that the filmmakers might have hoped it would be. Honestly, it was distracting, because I wanted to know if she was raped, maybe by a family member, if her baby had any sort of special weirdness about her, all sorts of things.
I could accept just a ghost. I would stretch to allow some Demon. But by the end of this fucking thing, I’m up to teleporting (with living, human children in tow), retarded, inbred, ghost demon who looks like Sissy Spacek and whose body is a breeding ground for moths. I would gladly take every bit of that, too…just so long as I was watching a comedy. Some collection of goofs out there wanted me to take this at least somewhat seriously, though, and I just have to draw the fucking line somewhere. My “somewhere,” I guess, is retardodemongeistNightcrawlerMothmanSpacek.
Mama: 3 stars for the mood, set pieces, and that one awesome dream scene. 1 star for the acting, zilch for at least the last 30 minutes. So, 4/1000. If you see this movie, become a Catholic and let the shame eat you up until you go to confession. This movie is mean to do to people.