Mama (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

Mama (2013)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic 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.

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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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Cast

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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Critic Reviews for Mama

All Critics (152) | Top Critics (38)

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… | January 1, 2014
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

[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… | August 1, 2013
Grantland
Top Critic

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… | February 20, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

Screenplay contrivances aside, it's as stylish and atmospheric as modern horror gets.

Full Review… | January 25, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Even if the beats are familiar, Muschietti sustains a remarkable mood throughout: wintry, elemental and stark, like a late Sylvia Plath poem.

Full Review… | January 24, 2013
Slate
Top Critic

I was guessing right till the bitter, scary, transcendent end.

Full Review… | January 21, 2013
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Mama

½

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.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

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.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

"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.

Tony Gandía
Tony Gandía

Super Reviewer

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