Mama Review

Horror movies have always been quite a hit and miss these few years with some really scaring the popcorns out of viewers while others have left those in the cinema with a sense of disappointment or even puzzled.

Director Andres Muschietti joins in the horror genre with his latest movie, Mama, using his 2008 short film with the same name as a base. Will he be able to scare movie goers into showering the cinema floors with popcorns or will it be another miss? POPCulture Online’s resident Horror fan Ken Koh finds out.

The Plot

Five years ago, sisters Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nélisse) aged 3 & 1 vanished from their suburban neighbourhood without a trace. Since then, their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his punk rocker girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), have been madly searching for them.

But when, incredibly, the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home. As Annabel tries to introduce the children to a normal life, she grows convinced of an evil presence in their house.

Are the sisters experiencing traumatic stress, or is a ghost coming to visit them?

Is the doctor in charge of their rehab, Dr Dreyfuss’ (Daniel Kash) theory about a imaginary figure which the girls address as Mama somehow connected with this evil presence in the house?

The Verdict

The movie feels like your standard horror movie that plays safe rather than one that finds new ways to scare the audience. Using the standard eerie humming with groaning background music as an ambiance with the usual sudden cliche loud sound effects, seasoned horror fans would have no problems anticipating the scare parts in the movie. Mama also felt like a mixture of scare factors inspired from other movies such as Exorcist, Ju-on, Darkwaters and a scenario very close to the horror game Fatal Frame.

While the movie did have its promising moments like portraying “motherly love” from a twisted ghostly figure and a punk rocker instead of the usual normal family type, the overall plot felt a bit weak considering the promising context the movie is set in.

There were also other bits of surprises include the dramatic camera angles and the opening credits where the doodles of the two sisters summarised their 5 years stay in the cabin that helped keep the movie interesting but overall it was a very normal movie.

In fact there were more giggling and parts where the rest of the audience went “awwww” from the innocence actions of the two sisters than screams which were rarely heard. One can’t help but wonder if the genre should be changed to “Suspense Thriller” instead.

To sum up, Mama is still an okay movie, not for the scares but for the entertainment value.

Ratings: 2.9 out of 5 stars (Almost a 3 but somehow not quite there yet but close).

P.S. PLS DO NOT HOLD A PACK OF POPCORN WHILE VIEWING. There is still a chance that you might encounter a popcorn spillage scene depending on your horror tolerance level.

Photos courtesy of United International Pictures (Singapore)

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