Friday, February 22, 2013


 Rated: PG-13

Andy Muschietti

Jessica Chastain, Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nelisse

CRITICAL SCORE: 6 / 10               BULLET POINTS: 7.5 / 10

After horrific shenanigans leave them abandoned for 5 years in a cabin deep in the woods, two young girly chilluns are found and adopted by their uncle and his somewhat apathetic rocker girlfriend. How did the girls survive on their own?... or were they really alone? Mama said freak you out.

Straight up, this trailer looked flat out gnurkin' & I was actually pumped for this one. Guillermo Del Toro's stamp was on the flick, which doesn't do anything for me either way. I dig his flicks but homeboy's stamp was on Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark which was (meh)diocre. Plus Del Toro kind of gets behind a certain type of "horror" film that is more dark fantasy than straight horror. So my stoked outlook was a bit tempered by that and the fact that Mama grabbed a PG-13 rating. Add in rocked out Chastain smoking up the screen and that sister-fucker we all love to hate, Jaime Lannister (Coster-Waldau who is awesome in Game of Thrones) and I was hopeful. So, did I throw Mama from the train or did she suck my soul out of my back?...

Once Upon A Time... It's how we kicked off this woodsy freak show and should have been a clue for me on what to expect. Mama is a long format version of a short film, so it starts strong but gets barrel rolled in the third act; a common problem when short films are expanded. It does recover somewhat though and there are some cool things about this film.

Mama is cinematographically beautiful. That said, I could have done without about 50% of the CGI. It pulls me out of a flick every time. I would have loved this movie if we actually saw Mama less and especially if Cousin It wasn't cruisin' around on the floor like a tweaked out spaniel. Less is more with the CG nearly every. single. time. The camera work was awesome though. Loved the colors, movement of shots, editing and composition. Mama has an oogey vibe going for it right out of the gate and doesn't drop the ball there either.

The pacing of the film is solid as well. The setup story was rad, so I was hip to the concept of what was going down Charlie Brown. Unfortunately, as we get further along there are some definite plot holes from a logical perspective. Without giving anything away, these holes could have been plugged up very simply, putting our characters in the same place in the final act in a way the audience could buy.  It was annoying because it kind of fell apart and pulled me out at a crucial moment. That mung mess would be so easily averted, but alas, we have a fuckaroo right before the climax.

Acting. Acting y'all. It's what takes Mama to another level. Coster-Waldau does a solid job being the awesome Uncle we are rooting for. Dig this dude. Now let's talk Chastain. As an actor, I'm straight up sprung for the undeniable talent of Jessica Chastain. The way she built her character and executed the journey of Annabel is beyond awesome. A master class on how to do it right. A hipster rock chick so easily could have been boffo and completely campy but not once do you not buy into Annabelle and her journey. She is that fucking good. Which brings me to the little girls playing the sisters Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse). They were both incredibly good and beyond that. Seriously, I was blown away especially by Megan, who along with Chastain, does much more than hold the film together. Megan brings it to another level and probably has the most screen time. This little actress along with Isabelle was the heart of the film. Bottom line: the main cast makes this film what it is.

Mama kind of didn't do it for me as a horror film. However, when I switched my perspective into Pan's Labyrinth mode about halfway through, I enjoyed it much more.  Alright Del Toro, this is the second time. I'm clued in, brah. I'm not going to say it was false advertising. I'm going to strike it up to me being a fucking freak and watching way too many straight up horror films. This is more of a dark fantasy with a horror backsplash. Go into it like that, you'll probably enjoy it more. Looking forward to watching it the second time around.

CGI. Again, maybe okay for a fantasy but for a horror film, fuck off with the motherfuckin' CGI. For serious. Mama is scarier when we get glimpses. The CGI isn't bad itself, but it is overused.

Contortion. I guess I understand why, but it was too showy and, again, overused.

Plot holes. I fell into one so deep, it tried to grab my dick.

Hallway scare. Peed a little. Fucker's quick.

The cabin kill. Peed a little more.

Story and concept are right on icy. Lick it up.

The cast could not have been better. Chastain is up there teaching a master class and these two kids are right on the level. Special mention to actor Daniel Kash for his turn as Dr. Dreyfuss. Nice work dude.

Jessica Chastain's cleavage. What?!

Nope. I splattered some water on my lap once when my bottom lip forgot how to act when partaking of a bottled beverage.

Mama works well as a dark fantasy film and not so well as a hardcore horror film. This should be evident from the beginning when we kick off with, "Once Upon A Time". Again, this film is an expansion on a short film and it does suffer from plot issues that could have been rather easily avoided. Not digging the CGI. It's not done horribly, it's just overused. In most cases I find the less we see of our antagonist, the better. The more that is inferred, the better. Mama recovers itself because it has a killer cast and a creeped out vibe that is sufficiently gnarly. Chastain is pretty sexy all tatted up; our angel with broken wings. Maybe I'm just into bad girls. (I am.) Seriously, she is a badass actor and lights up the screen along with Megan Charpentier. The story concept is choice. Definitely a strong point. Overall, righteous little flick from a first time director based on his own story. Mad respect & congratulations. I look forward to seeing what's next.


  1. I loved Mama it was a great gothic fairy tale, then again that's why I will watch anything Del Toro touches with his Midas touch

    1. Thank you for your comment! Yeah, I quite enjoyed the flick once I kind of got into that fairytale groove. The fact that Del Toro was integral in getting Andy Muschietti's short turned into a feature with Muschietti actually directing and maintaining a lot of control is a class act move all the way. I now have a new respect for Guillermo beyond just his films. Now, bring on Pacific Rim!