Critics Consensus

If you're into old-school scares over cheap gore, you'll be able to get over Mama's confusing script and contrived plot devices.



Total Count: 162


Audience Score

User Ratings: 143,706
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Mama Photos

Movie Info

Guillermo del Toro presents Mama, a supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their mother was murdered. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night. The day their father killed their mother, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished near their suburban neighborhood. For five long years, their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his 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. (c)Universal

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
as Lucas/Jeffrey
Daniel Kash
as Dr. Dreyfuss
Jane Moffat
as Jean Podolski
Morgan McGarry
as Young Victoria
David Fox
as Burnsie
Matthew Edison
as Young Cop
Maya Dawe
as Young Lilly
Sierra Dawe
as Young Lilly
Nick Hall
as Annabel's Bandmate
Ron Proulx
as Annabel's Bandmate
Hannah Cheesman
as Beautiful Mama/Skinny Woman
Elva Mai Hoover
as Dr. Dreyfuss' Secretary
Laura Guiteras
as Mama Voice
Melina Matthews
as Mama Voice
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News & Interviews for Mama

Critic Reviews for Mama

All Critics (162) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (104) | Rotten (58)

  • 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.

    Jan 1, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • [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.)

    Aug 1, 2013 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
  • Extended from a 2008 short and starring Jessica Chastain, this has become a proficient, machine-tooled horror flick.

    Feb 21, 2013 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Xan Brooks

    Top Critic
  • Mothers, moths, myths - all seemingly thrown together by someone on meths.

    Feb 21, 2013 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Feb 20, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Nigel Floyd

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Screenplay contrivances aside, it's as stylish and atmospheric as modern horror gets.

    Jan 25, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mama

  • Feb 06, 2017
    Some wicked creature design and good child actors make up for Mama's "unfinished" feeling. Jessica Chastain delivers as usual.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 26, 2015
    Startling to a point, Guillermo Del Toro is extremely unafraid of making himself too obvious as his trademark styles are very fluent throughout viewing. The horror film quickly escapades through retreading horror film clichés and eventually concludes in a confusing fairytale ending, reminiscient of Del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth" which also blended horror and fantasy. It's quite scary, but don't expect to be frightened by anything you aren't already expecting to be frightened by. The story, in which the "feral child" phenomenon is explored is probably the best part of the film, as well as the sturdy and often experimental direction.
    Harry W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 23, 2014
    Entertaining not one on my top ten Horror or whatever genre this Movie "slipped" in
    NaWie M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 04, 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.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer

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