Friday, January 18, 2013

Mama

Mama is 2013 horror film with a convoluted story, but a very simple message...If you can find it. It stars future Oscar winner, Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter) as Annebell, and Jamie Lannister as Lucas, as a couple who take their long lost nieces into custody following a violent and mysterious ordeal. The children are gone for 5 years before they are finally found by Lucas, who has been devoting all of his time and money into finding them. Annebell very clearly wants no children and just wants to play in her generic rock band, while Lucas is desperate to find his brother's missing children. When the children are found, they are reclusive and in a feral state. One of the girls, Victoria, still has some language skills, so she can somewhat be reintegrated into society, whereas the other one, Lily, is a completely wild animal, Like Mowgli. Then what follows is generic ghost story jargon, strange noises, eerie feelings, Lucas gets decommissioned, blah blah blah. The execution is nothing we really haven't seen before, but it actually has a pleasing amount of scares. The tension is high, the cinematography is very clever (and it really should be in a film that actually tries to scare you) and the performances were all very good. Just because it's unoriginal doesn't mean it's not good, it just happens to be in a genre which is a slave to formula. But the overall point of the film, is about a woman learning to become a mom. Annebell starts off as cold and uncaring to the girls, but after Lucas is out of the picture and ends up caring for the children by herself, she slowly forms a bond with the children.
Mama
Now lets get to Mama, herself. Mama is a ghost that, basically, raised the girls while Lucas was searching for them and formed a twisted and morbid bond with the girls. I thought that Mama was actually a very scary creature and the film makers were really clever with developing the movements of it. The creature moves in a very disorienting matter that is very emotionally jarring that really causes unease and dread to the viewer. The film says more than almost every other horror film in this day and age. And while horror isn't a shallow and one dimension genre that is purely made just to exploit dumb teens who are desperate for a thrill, it is something of a rarity for a horror film to go as deep as this one does. Good examples of other horror films with hidden context are: Dawn of the Dead (original), Near Dark, Frankenstein, The Hills Have Eyes (Original), Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, The Fly (Original) and Videodrome. But that's not to say that horror can't just be senseless thrills, chills and spills. I would gladly say about Mama that you are having your cake and eating it too. And I recommend you all have a slice
      -L.K

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