Starring: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash,
Director: Andrés Muschietti.
Running time: 100 mins.
AMID the usual remakes and sequels, a horror film produced by Guillermo Del Toro and showing at the Glasgow Film Festival raised some expectations.
I’d urge you not to fall for the hype.
Mama, a Spanish-Canadian, first-time feature-length effort from Andrés Muschietti, has been touted as the scariest film of 2013 so far after cleaning up at the box office across the pond — why, it remains unclear.
The premise is promising enough: two young sisters — one barely crawling — are lost in the woods under tragic circumstances.
Their uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) hasn’t given up hope despite five years of searching and — sure enough — his search party have just discovered the cabin where the girls have been holed up.
Practically feral, the duo are hastened through psyche tests and courts until they’re deemed fit to live with Lucas and his child-wary, rock chick girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain).
Unfortunately for our leading lady, she’s about to be left alone with her new charges, and the entity which kept them alive in the woods for so long? Well...she’s the jealous type.
Putting aside the odd ridiculous line ((at one point, Annabel’s friend tells her she might not be cut out for motherhood because she’s “in a rock band”), the initial storyline of children left to fend for themselves is eerie enough.
With both girls crawling on all fours and one without a grasp of English, there are a few initial scares as well as the usual feeling of impending dread – the horror genre has, in recent years, perfected the creepy kid stereotype.
Then, Mama herself comes into the picture, prompting one question: when are filmmakers going to learn that with CGI monsters, less is more?
There are just too many sightings of the big bad spectre, all leading up to a silly ending which could be deemed offensive to mothers everywhere (even women in general) — if you care enough by that point.
This year’s film festival line up has a wealth of great films on offer: unfortunately, Mama just isn’t one of them, and will fail to satisfy even the most forgiving horror fan when out on general release (February 22).