Running Time: 100 minutes
Director: Andy Muschietti
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nelisse
Synopsis: “Annabel and Lucas are faced with the challenge of raising his young nieces that were left alone in the forest for 5 years…. but how alone were they?” (IMDb).
Verdict: When Paranormal Activity meets Pan’s Labyrinth and Tarzan (or Jungle Book) comes a movie with two little girls who’re raised in the woods, many draggy scenes about a ghost hiding in the closet, insects that represents evil just like in many other horror flicks, and unconvincing CG. With the repetitiveness with the development that’s already there, and the many cheap scares involving typical loud sound effects, the film is bound to be a boring sit-through for those who’ve had enough horror cliches. Mama would’ve actually been more interesting if it was without the titular character itself, or if it was written to be a dark musical film (where it has more potential). On the bright side, the standout performance by one of the two little girls, Isabelle Nélisse, may catch the attention of better projects.
Second opinion: “Okay lah… still watchable; very good acting by the two little girls” (Nana Eddy).
Jessica Chastain here… looks like a hotter version of Courteney Cox (from the popular TV sitcom Friends).
Malaysian censorship: I think only the scene where the couple makes out is cut.
Rating: 1 / 5 (See Ratings Guide)
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Mama’s an idiot ghost: She kills the two little girls’ father, kills the sister, attempts to kill the uncle and kills the doctor but for no particular reason, never tries to kill Annabel (Jessica Chastain) until the end. Annabel isn’t even that kind to the kids until much later in the film.
The ending: Mama finally reunites with (the remains of) her baby but throws her away after realising that she has fresher and better looking ones to be with. She FINALLY hurts Annabel (after somehow failing to kill the boyfriend AGAIN) and SLOWLY walks the two little girls to the cliff (when she could’ve easily flown while carrying them). Annabel then becomes a pain in the ass for Mama, reluctant to allow one of the girls to be taken (but she seems okay to just let the other one die). But Mama surprisingly doesn’t kill her for that! Emotional music then starts playing in the background, making it seem like as though they are going to start singing like in a musical. One of the two girls is willingly taken, falls off the cliff happily in the arms of Mama and turns into one of the insects. The movie ends typically convenient without showing the viewers how these survivors are going to explain to the police about what happened.
The plot hole: It is not explained in the film about why Mama can be such a powerful evil spirit after she dies (and why isn’t there any other ghosts around?). It is also not explained why she’s more like a creature than a ghost (’cause ghosts are supposed to be invisible or transparent right? ‘Cause if not, where are the other spirits?). And instead of hanging and hiding around at the house for the entire period of the film, why can’t Mama just take the two girls back to the woods through the “portal” in the closet?
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Thanks to Nuffnang for the invitation to the premiere.