Mama Review

Movie: Mama
By: J Rotten
Date: March 8, 2013

When Your Guardian Angel Gets Evil

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?

Lucas (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) is a successful financial bigwig of some sort, with a wife and two lovely girls. Everything seems to be going well in his life - at least judging by his awesome house - but one day he just randomly snaps. He shoots two co-workers, then he drives home, murders his wife, and absconds with his daughters who are too young to know any better. They suffer a crash on an icy mountain road, slink through the forest, and find a lovely, filthy abandoned cabin. Or at least they think it's abandoned. Five years later, Lucas's twin brother Jeffrey (also Coster-Waldau) has spent his entire savings looking for his lost brother and those missing children. But were the kids really alone or do they had some help surviving this matter?


Guillermo Del Toro was at a film festival and saw a short clip of Mama and immediately he got triggered to make a full movie of this clip. Together with Muschietti they made a full movie of the short clip which resulted in Mama: A mothers love is forever. Muschietti made a beautiful setting in which he could shoot this movie and he made sure it would be heavy on the dark and vicious atmosphere. The music that has been used works out very well too and brings the tension even more to the audience. Muschietti knows exactly how to empathize the viewers. He shows us what a child's life is worth when you lose your mother on such a young age and your dad (his cars number plate says how ironic: Nr 1 Dad) leaves you for dead behind.


I liked it, the film is well made and the tension is pretty high in it. I found the casting of Jessica Chastain remarkable because she is an arrived actress (she had an Oscar nomination for Zero Dark Thirty) normally wouldn' t play a character in a horror movie but this was a golden move from the director. Her acting skills bring the film to a much higher level. She is full of tattoos and with an 'gothic appearance' she's questioning the viewers if she's ready to fulfill the task of being a mother. But just like almost all movies Mama isn' t flawless. The many Digital Effects in Mama are bad, very bad.. I don't have any problems with Digital Effects but it brings the movie down when it's so freaky' obvious that the effects are made by a computer.


This was a bit of a bummer because the movie itself was quite well. Mama is a nice psychological/ghost thriller/horror that could be a top production if the spent just a little bit more time and money in the special effects.



Image quality

A few ghastly edge halos and some rather unforgiving crush. Each instance, though, was also present in the film's theatrical presentation, meaning neither one is a product of the encode at all, but rather the source. Everything is faithful to a fault, and Mama looks exactly as it should.


Mama's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is exactly what you want a horror film's lossless audio mix to be: subtle, seductive and subdued, and then -- after a slow, torturous crescendo of sonic-driven suspense -- powerful, frightening and potent. The LFE channel is a deadly predator, ever on the prowl and primed to pounce the moment a kill presents itself. The rear speakers follow suit, creating an enveloping, exceedingly effective hunting ground of a soundfield, complete with convincing ambience, immersive acoustics, eerie cross-channel pans and jarring directional effects.


  • Audio Commentary: Brother-sister duo Andy and Barbara Muschietti (director/co-writer, producer/co-writer respectively) hit the ground running, dissecting each scene and its challenges, iterations, performances, mood, atmosphere and visual effects. It's an extensive and engaging overview of the film, even though the Muschiettis state the obvious once too often.
  • Original Short (HD, 5 minutes): Guillermo del Toro introduces the original Mama short, which, true to its nature is very short but very effective. Scary even. It's easy to see what drew del Toro to the project and the studio to the big screen adaptation. The short also features optional commentary with the Muschiettis.
  • The Birth of Mama (HD, 10 minutes): A slick but thorough behind-the-scenes featurette, with interviews with del Toro, the co-writers and key members of the cast, as well as production insights that are more candid than the usual EPKs.
  • Matriarchal Secrets: The Visual Effects of Mama (HD, 6 minutes): The filmmakers blur the line between practical and computer-generated effects, approaching each fright and spirit first with makeup and prosthetics then digital tweaks and touches.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 8 minutes): Six deleted scenes with optional commentary, among them "Honey I'm Home," "Not Raised by Animals," "Doll Parts," "Conversations with the Wall," "Lilly in the Garden" and "A Discovery in the Closet."


MAMA turned out to be a very solid movie and with this solid movie you will now get a solid bluray release! This one is top notch!







Andrés Muschietti






Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier