Mama - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mama Reviews

Page 1 of 236
Super Reviewer
½ May 8, 2013
It is frustrating to see an efficient (and very scary) short movie adapted into such a weak feature film that, despite some creepy moments and good visual effects, is sadly bogged down by a pile of cheap scares, clichés and inconsistencies.
Super Reviewer
½ November 4, 2013
Though Mexican director Guillermo del Toro did not direct this film, his fingerprints are indelibly placed all over this film. He has a producing credit and is always presenting in advertising, but it is director Andres Muschietti who brought the concept to the screen. Based on his short film from 2008, this reimagining has a larger emphasis on the specter, Mama's, backstory and places macabre elements into the story. While "Mama" isn't anything new, it is refreshing to see a film that places emphasis on the ethereal and the familiar in its ghosts. Mama is not an interesting character, or a great ghost in the long run. Her presence is always frightening, and the look of her from a peripheral standpoint is freakish, but that's only when she's in the shadows. When she plays with the children, or hides in plain sight, she is scary, as she plays the "other" rather well, but when we finally see her in full view, it's clear she wasn't constructed to be frightening. The character designs in del Toro's films have become much narrower in recent years (Most applicable in "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark") and in this film it's easy to see where his influence changed the look of Mama. Everything else about this film feels a bit done, but that's not to say it's essentially bland. Annabel (Chastain) is an interesting character, who likes her independence, values not being a mother, and has a carefree relationship with her boyfriend Lucas (Coster-Waldau). Are any of these characteristics explored to enhance her character and make the impact of motherhood via adoption apparent compared to Mama's obsession? No. Annabel instead comes off as petty and sallow outcast who is a little cruel towards the kids. The setting was great, the set-up was impeccable, and the kids in this film are perfectly cast and super creepy, but it all feels done before. There's nothing really new here, except in ghost design for the eponymous character.
The Gandiman
Super Reviewer
October 28, 2013
"Mama" is well-realized film but not one of the most original stories to be told in this genre. It's still pretty good with some nicely directed sequences and Jessica Chastain continuing to astonish with her transformative acting but at the end of the day you see "Mama" coming from a mile away and she's a bit tired.
Super Reviewer
½ September 1, 2013
Been looking forward to watching this. The storyline was a little thin, but I liked the atmosphere.
Super Reviewer
January 20, 2013
Great horror flick! My only complaint is Jessica Chastain's black hair! lol So if that is my only complaint... it is good!
Super Reviewer
½ July 3, 2013
A disappointing horror film from the mind of Guillermo del Toro concerning two sisters who are left in a cabin in the woods for five years after their father kills their mother and disappears suddenly, and how the girls are discovered five years ago in terrible condition and given to their uncle (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his punk rock loving wife (Jessica Chastain). Although it has a dose of del Toro creativity, sadly this is a movie that just goes nowhere. This is just a very predictable story that offers no real surprises and just a few "boo!" moments to try to trick you into thinking it is scary. It has atmosphere, but not enough to make it memorable, and Chastain is surprisingly pretty uneven given how great an actress she is. The ending is also pretty terrible, it ends on a real downer that does not really make much sense or give the viewer any satisfaction upon completing the film.
Super Reviewer
½ January 14, 2013
Of all movie genre's, horror is probably my favorite. Especially slasher movies. Having said that, ghost movies are generally hit or miss for me. Something about ghosts just doesn't really scare me or have any really effect. So, "Mama" wasn't a movie I was dying to see, because I figured it probably wouldn't really be for me. I thought it was ok, and better than most ghost movies, but nothing great. It's unique in that it offers a different take on children in these types of movies, but other than that, nothing really sets it apart. Its the story of two little girls who are taken into the woods by their father(Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) who plans for murder them and commit suicide. Before he can, a ghost appears and kills him, while saving the girls and becoming their Mama. 5 years later his twin brother's search party finally finds the girls and brings them back to civilization. They now live with him and his girlfriend(Jessica Chastain), who is a rocker and doesn't want kids at all. But the girls Mama gets jealous and begins to haunt them. The atmosphere for the movie is pretty good, and Chastain gives an awesome performance. I think this would have worked better if Mama wasn't so CGI. She just looked very fake to me, reminded me of a movie called "Darkness Falls". Decent story, then all suspense is kind of ruined by this fake CGI ghost. I'm sure there's a lot of people that like this, and that's great. It just didn't work for me. Guillermo Del Toro was the producer, and I would recommend another ghost movie he produced called "The Orphanage" over this. Still, if your into ghost movies, give it a shot.
Super Reviewer
½ January 20, 2013
85% of this movie was "off the hook" creepy. True Guillermo del Toro imaginative scary. There were even a moment or two that made my husband jump, which NEVER happens. BUT, then, this movie sadly enters the realm of "movies with stupid endings". A tragedy really, because it made it very hard to remember how good the rest of the movie was. Why does this happen so much with horror films?....
Super Reviewer
June 10, 2013
Andres Muschietti's Mama brings the creepy into the mother daughter relationship.On the topic of story, it plays out like any suspense-horror should, but the 95 minutes of screen time does have its moments. The usage of jump scares is existent, but minimal as the film relies more on its atmosphere, tone, and characters to raise the suspense level.The CG may not be the greatest, but the look of the Mama character has a disturbing and creepy aura around it that works well with what this picture is going for.Jessica Chastain is amusing early, but ends up with a bit of a cliched character by the end. Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nelisse do excellent jobs as the two young girls of the story.Mama comes across as a typical thriller; however, it has enough to be a recommendable film.
Super Reviewer
June 6, 2013
After producing the disappointing "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark" in 2011, Guillermo del Toro lends his name - and financial services - to another American horror production, which is actually an elaboration of the 2008, three minute short, "Mamá" by the same Argentine director Andrés Muschietti. For the most part, del Toro has wisely chosen a director to invest in, but like so many before him, he fails to deliver the ultimate punch that's so important in this particular genre.
A father (Coster-Waldau), seemingly in a state of desperation abducts his two young daughters and flees with them to a remote cabin in the woods. His intention is to kill them but before he does, a dark entity interjects and kills him instead. For years afterwards, the father's twin brother (Coster-Waldau again) searches for his nieces and eventually finds them. They have went feral and claim to have been looked after by something they refer to as "Mama". However, when they head back to civilisation, "Mama" has no intentions of leaving them alone.
Let me just start by saying that "Mama" is a very frustrating movie. When I say frustrating, I don't mean bad, as this film can't quite be labeled as such. It has many things to recommend it; the deliberate pace; the teasing build up; freaky children; the spectre only hinted at or briefly glimpsed. Director Andrés Muschietti (or Andy as he's credited) certainly knows how to build tension and raise the goosebumps. He does it so commandingly and assembles two impressive lead actors that are at the forefront of everyone's minds at present; the ubiquitous, two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastian and rising "Games Of Thrones" star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau - not to mention two excellent child actors in Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nélisse, but (forgive me if I'm mistaken here) is the role of executive producer not to produce, or oversee, the financial side of a film, allowing a director to fully express their vision and help with the distribution of the product? If that's the case, then Guillermo del Toro can certainly be seen to have done his side of the bargain on the latter half, as this has reached quite an impressive audience, but on the the former he has to come under scrutiny. When this film is forced into delivering the visuals, they seem cheap and really not up to the standard that a more sophisticated audience are accustomed to. The finale is delivered in such a way that it strips the whole film of the good work that went before. Namely, revealing the spectre too much and too soon. When will filmmakers - particularly those in the horror genre - learn, that less is more? It's not necessary for us to witness the antagonist in full view and allow our minds to be force fed, when it worked so much better when we were kept in the dark. In fairness, it's a poorly written denouement that still falls at the feet of director Muschietti , who co-writes with Neil Cross and sister Barbara Muschietti. They construct a brilliant horror concept with an effective, mother/daughter emotional core, but are simply unable to bring it to any satisfying conclusion. That's exactly where the frustration lies; this film had so much going for it, that it leaves you in disbelief that it's all squandered in contrivances and poor CGI, which ultimately leaves you with the overriding feeling that not all short film's have the ability or mileage for a feature length endeavour.
For the most part, this is a very effective and engaging modern horror but like so many from recent times, it fails to deliver when it really matters. Here's some advice from your "Dada"... expect less and you'll receive more.
Super Reviewer
January 17, 2013
"Mama" tries to be more than a generic horror movie by mixing in mother-daughter themes, but this unique twist can't make up for the film's awful CGI and its goofy ending, both of which kill any actual scariness the movie tries to muster.
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2013
two stars
Super Reviewer
April 1, 2013
Mama is a unique entry in a genre that has started to become stagnant and all about the gore and deserves praise for sticking to its guns. That said, it isn't particularly scary after the initial set-up and enters more into fantasy territory than horror by the end. They make the cardinal horror sin of showing the creature too much. It makes it less scary and intriguing when you know why something is happening and what it looks like. The best horror movies keep these things secret at least until the end, but Mama does it long before that. I will say the acting is rather good, especially Jessica Chastain and the kids who don't make you cringe (my determining factor of whether a child actor is effective). The film has great atmosphere & visuals clearly influenced by executive producer Guillermo Del Toro. I really enjoyed those aspects of the film. The film never lost my interest either, despite overuse of boo! moments and a lack of scares. It just didn't mesh the fantasy and horror as well as other Del Toro films have. It's still worth a look for horror aficionados, but everyone else can probably skip it.
Super Reviewer
April 25, 2013
It's ok, just not that scary
Super Reviewer
½ February 22, 2013
Revolting and jolting, Mama (2013, USA) delivers real modern suspense and horror to those who believe (and not believe).
Mark Beckford
Super Reviewer
February 8, 2013
A creepy and mostly original ghost story. Jennifer Chastain is excellent as the goth and reluctant surrogate mother ... a nice change from the suburban mom that is more typical for these character types. The youngest actress who plays "Lily" does a great job juxtaposing cute and creepy as the most screwed up "wildling." You can clearly see Guillermo Del Toro's influence given his obsession with bugs. There is too much use of "The Grudge's" groaning sound effect -- someone needs to come up with a new and more original sound. When they eventually show "Mama" in all her glory it starts looking a bit cheesy. But of the three similar titles put out in the last six months (Sinister, The Possession), this is the best of the lot.
Super Reviewer
February 9, 2013
A creepy and mostly original ghost story. Jennifer Chastain is excellent as the goth and reluctant surrogate mother ... a nice change from the suburban mom that is more typical for these character types. The youngest actress who plays "Lily" does a great job juxtaposing cute and creepy as the most screwed up "wildling." You can clearly see Guillermo Del Toro's influence given his obsession with bugs. There is too much use of "The Grudge's" groaning sound effect -- someone needs to come up with a new and more original sound. When they eventually show "Mama" in all her glory it starts looking a bit cheesy. But of the three similar titles put out in the last six months (Sinister, The Possession), this is the best of the lot.
Tired of Previews
Super Reviewer
February 9, 2013
There once was a girl named Kate

One day she decided to tempt fate

A horror film lay ahead

Something she would usually dread.

The picture started

Heart began to race

Palms turned sweaty

But she knew she was in the ready.

A story unfolded with little surprise

Hopes of good began to disappear

No matter which direction it took

Disingenuous it felt and had no hook.

Lead by a female of great skill

Not even her masks could thrill.

A woman who is content to be childless

Becomes the heroine to the lost

Two little girls like to draw and squat

While the males served little purpose to the plot.

A ghostly mother who never forgets

Cannot forgive but protects

Living in walls and dreams

Emotions bent out of shape

The mother could not escape.

No matter how she rose, twisted or turned

Or how idiotic the story burned

Mama could not be feared.

Alas, for this gal, the tale would soon end

Because laughter became her friend

Del Toro had a good thought

But truth be told the director did not.

Happy is the day when the lights brightened

For now the tale of MAMA can be forgotten.

Review: 4 out of 10
Super Reviewer
February 6, 2013
Great horror films are hard to pull off nowadays, and this film is not in any way great, but I mildly enjoyed some of the weirdness of it, and the visuals weren't half bad either. This story is about two girls suffering the aftermath of their mothers death. Some ghostly figure still linger around them in hopes to become their "new Mama." It is a very strange tale that literally starts off with a title screen that says "Once upon a time." It feels like two separate films when you are watching it, due to the fact that the girls' lives are much different from their aunt and uncle who become their legal guardians. "Mama" is filled with jump scares that sometimes work and sometimes made me laugh, but the story was good enough to hold it together. It's a one and done movie, but it's not a bad one!
Page 1 of 236