Mama was a sophisticated attempt to terrify with a lack of follow-through. The film got my attention right out of the gate. The story grabbed me and sucked me in. As is standard with most scary movies, there were a few lulls as events unfolded on screen. But, for the most part my eyes were pretty much glued to the screen. I wanted to know who this Mama character was.
I am not afraid to admit that I was a little jumpy when Mama made her appearance. I actually did get chills running down my spine.
The movie was effectively scary. It did an excellent job of toying with my emotions; letting me know when something frightening was going to happen and then taking its time to get to that point. When it was finally time for something to jump out at me, I was not ready for it because my anticipation had ceased. It waits for you to let your guard down and then it attacks. After using this maneuver successfully a couple of times, you might think that I would get used to it, but I couldn’t.
The special effects in this film were incredible and I think that is a major contributing factor in why the movie was actually able to be horrifying. It was very realistic. It was so real that it was creepy, literally.
In my previous horror movie review of The Possession (2012), I mentioned what seems to be the basic horror movie outline these days. Mama was refreshing because it only very loosely followed that outline and that was a nice change of pace.
As the film reaches its climax, the story begins to unravel. Things stop making sense and many questions go unanswered. Amidst all of the confusion, the movie as we know it up until that point, basically takes a nosedive off of a cliff and kills itself. It was a shame because it really had a lot going for it until then. In my mind I was starting to compare it to The Ring (2002). The Ring was probably the last movie that scared me the way this one did. Except that The Ring had a quality ending. The ending of Mama was a travesty to the movie as a whole. It took something really good and destroyed it.
I rate this movie a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
Maybe if we are lucky, the DVD will have an alternate ending. Maybe the theatrical ending was just a joke. It was really that bad.
Side note: Jessica Chastain was hardly recognizable in Mama. Because of her short, cropped black hair, tattoos, and punk rock clothing, I didn’t even know that it was her until the credits were rolling at the end.