"Mama" is the first big horror film release of the year. So as a horror movie fan, I really wanted to watch this. It has the name of Guillermo del Toro, not as director as I first thought, but as a producer, so we expected fantastic visuals. I was pleasantly surprised to see acclaimed actress of the moment, Jessica Chastain there too, looking like I have not seen her before, sporting a short dark Joan Jett-hairstyle. This film really had a lot going for it.
"Mama" is a malevolent female spirit who jealously hounds the couple Annabelle (Jessica Chastain) and Luke (Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) who adopts a couple of young girls who had been found living wildly in an abandoned cabin in the woods. Throughout this movie, in the way of disturbing dreams and jarring apparitions, we join Annabelle try to discover what exactly "Mama" wants that she cannot seem to get.
First-time feature film director Andrés Muschietti succeeds to create a horror film that was visually stunning as it was emotionally charged. The stylish look may have been influenced by the producer, Guillermo del Toro, who had amazed us before with his make-believe world in "Pan's Labyrinth." The emotional ride in "Mama" was very involving, largely due to the restrained yet effective performance of Jessica Chastain as a single rocker-chick who was suddenly given the unexpected and unwelcome responsibility of being a step-mother to two very disturbed girls.
The one drawback for me was Mama herself, particularly how she looked. I admit I did not really like how she reminded me so much of Sadako (of the "Ring" films) in all its obvious computer-generated glory. However, the camera angles used to show "Mama" and her point of view were quite innovative. There were gaping plot holes when you think the story through and try to give explanations to Mama's illogical behavior. But hey, she is a crazy ghost after all! Just sit back, imbibe the creepy atmosphere and feel the emotion in the story.