Mama

Swanner: When they say that nothing good comes out to theatres in January that’s not always the rule. Occasionally something good slips in. Last year it was Contraband but this year it’s Mama. Mama tells the story of two young girls that were lost in the woods for 5 years who have been found. How did they survive all that time alone…or were they alone? Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) star.

Judd: Guillermo Del Toro, producer, has a very good habit of giving new directors a shot at the big-time, and overall it’s paid off. He lends his sense of the story-book macabre to the film, but otherwise lets Andres Muschietti take the reins. The movie’s scares for the first half come from some pretty standard thrills – feral children, bumps in the night and unknown spirit. The movie really shines in its third act, where the villain is given an emotional value not commonly seen in these types of films.

Swanner: It’s a gothic tale set in modern times. It feel a lot like The Woman in Black that came out last year but as gothic stories go it’s all pretty standard. I did think that the acting was really good. Chastain really held her own. She didn’t become a screaming leading lady. She reminded me of Sigourney Weaver’s Alien character that does not hold back when the shit hits the fan. I also thought the script was solid and it was nice seeing that emotional element come into play as you mentioned before.

Judd: I also liked that we got to see the monster/ghost. Back in the day, when it was wigs and rubber masks, the audience got to see the villain in all its cheesy SFX glory. Now that we have the technology to create life-like ghouls through CGI, today’s horror movies want to create suspense by shaking the camera and delivering quick, out of focus glimpses. I liked that we got to see Mama, up close and face to face. The rest of the movie was made the same way, no cheap budget-cutting scare gimmicks.

Swanner: The scares were good ones. Mama can really move when she wants too. I also thought the two girls in the film were really good. Isabella Nelisse plays Lilly who played the creepiest of the kids and Megan Charpenier played Victoria. I think we’re going to be seeing good things from her in the future. Without giving anything away I was very pleased with the ending. One, for the unconventional ending and two, that they didn’t try to set us up for a sequel. I remember the moment it ended everyone was expecting some lame last scare and it didn’t happen. Thank you for that.

Judd: The movie does not have a typical ending and it was interesting to observe the audience’s reaction. While I think Mama is fairly typical for the first half, the characters are richer than your typical haunted children movie, and the second half makes up for any early clichés.

Swanner:

Judd:

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