Mama - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mama Reviews

Top Critic
Adam Nayman
Globe and Mail
January 1, 2014
The problem is that [the] movie barely meets the minimum generic requirements, and thus comes off as pretentious for presuming to hover so airily above them.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Grantland
August 1, 2013
[The movie] has more integrity than its creepshow peers. The story basically comes down to a dead-looking woman who doesn't want to be a mother fighting for parental custody against a long-dead woman who does. (Grad students, start your theses.)
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Nigel Floyd
Time Out
February 20, 2013
By splitting the action between several different characters and locations, the plot dissipates the suspense and lacks focus, as if it has been bolted together from disparate, ill-fitting pieces.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Drew Hunt
Chicago Reader
January 25, 2013
Screenplay contrivances aside, it's as stylish and atmospheric as modern horror gets.
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
January 24, 2013
Even if the beats are familiar, Muschietti sustains a remarkable mood throughout: wintry, elemental and stark, like a late Sylvia Plath poem.
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 21, 2013
I was guessing right till the bitter, scary, transcendent end.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
January 20, 2013
It starts out strongly, using evocative visuals and an unsettling backstory to establish a creepy tableau, but it proves unable to sustain those strengths all the way to the finish line.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
January 18, 2013
The metaphorical mother-child connection becomes a mystical horror show of significant power. Sadly it comes too late to save "Mama."
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
January 18, 2013
It's an interesting effort ... although, sadly, in the end "effort" is really the crucial word.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
January 18, 2013
There's something eerily effective about juxtaposing childhood innocence with the violent, the supernatural, the deranged. Evil shines all the more brightly when held up against the sweet promise of youth.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
January 18, 2013
Chastain has an excellent time. And so did I, for most of the movie: It's much more suspenseful than violent, being careful not to allow us to figure out Mama too quickly.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
January 18, 2013
There's something dead and rotting at the center of "Mama," and it isn't the ghost of the woman who lends the horror film its title.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Kevin C. Johnson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 17, 2013
[A] respectable entry into the horror genre that values chills over kills.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
January 17, 2013
"Mama" is skillfully made, and although Chastain is the best thing in it, she's not the only thing in it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
January 17, 2013
This is a picture about how a mother's love can be nourishing at its best but suffocating in the extreme. Chastain embraces that idea wholly, without squeezing the life out of it.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Leah Rozen
TheWrap
January 17, 2013
The fact that Guillermo del Toro is an executive producer of Mama is a tip-off that this won't be just another horror film with misbehaving and soon-to-be-dismembered teenagers or a drooling, slime-soaked monster.
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
January 17, 2013
More effective than you might expect.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
January 17, 2013
Instead of delivering buckets of guts and gore, this ghost story offers a strong sense of time and place, along with the kind of niceties that don't often figure into horror flicks ...
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
January 17, 2013
"Mama" announces the arrival of a director who works unusually well with actors-the two children are truly scary-and who creates highly charged environments, effective sound designs and powerful fantasy sequences.
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
January 17, 2013
Though "Mama" doesn't work, it has the ghost of a good idea at its core.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
January 17, 2013
Surprisingly, this patchwork pastiche often works.
Full Review | Original Score: 6/10
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 17, 2013
Like another del Toro stamp-of-approval Spanish horror entry, The Orphanage, Muschietti's Mama is full of arty tropes - sepia-toned flashbacks, flickering lights, menacing murmurings.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 17, 2013
You know something is up when what looks like a cheapie fright flick is produced by Guillermo Del Toro and boasts an Oscar-nominated actress in Jessica Chastain. Mama doesn't live up to their potential, but the film knows how to creep you out.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Kristin Tillotson
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 17, 2013
"Mama" is a smartly refreshing departure, a truly scary movie exemplifying horror at its purest.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Russo
Boston Globe
January 17, 2013
The frustration ... is how much the movie leans on made-ya-jump scares and contrived plot devices when its quieter chills and already fraught setups are so potent.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
January 17, 2013
If you're going to have a ghost in your movie, it might be a good thing to present a viable alternative to that ghost. "Mama," however, presents a battle between two not very good options before crumbling like a sheet on a string.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
January 17, 2013
The atmosphere is appropriately creepy, and there are some starts, if not outright scares. But it just gets stupid.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Linda Barnard
Toronto Star
January 17, 2013
An elegant and edgy thriller, Mamais a ghost story laced with fairytale sensibilities, benefitting from the nightmarish, artful influence of executive producer Guillermo del Toro.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Mary F. Pols
TIME Magazine
January 17, 2013
Mama is clumsily written and choppily edited, but Chastain doesn't have a bad scene in it, and you can see why she chose to be in this supernatural ghost story.
Top Critic
Tasha Robinson
AV Club
January 17, 2013
Plenty of horror movies are willing to settle for making audiences jump. Mama is more ambitious by far: It makes sure viewers are emotionally committed even when they aren't clutching their armrests or covering their eyes.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Chicago Sun-Times
January 17, 2013
"Mama" succeeds in scaring the wits out of us and leaving some lingering, deeply creepy images ...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Emily Rome
Entertainment Weekly
January 16, 2013
Nothing in the movie is quite original, yet Muschietti, expanding his original short, knows how to stage a rip-off with frightening verve.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Justin Chang
Variety
January 16, 2013
What's under the bed? Who's behind that door? What's making those vaguely satanic noises? These and other thought-provoking questions are entertained in Mama, a visually polished but overly repetitive chiller.
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
January 16, 2013
It never hits the high notes of Mr. del Toro's own films or successfully weaves between reality and fantasy as it should.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
January 16, 2013
In essence, Mama represents a throwback and a modest delight for people who like a good scare but prefer not to be terrorized or grossed out.
Top Critic
Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
January 15, 2013
Mama never delivers the primal terror its premise would suggest.
Top Critic
Keith Uhlich
Time Out New York
January 15, 2013
Expertly conjured atmosphere only gets Muschietti so far.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5