To some children, the sound of crickets in the woods are the closest thing to home they will feel. For the case of feral children, the necessity of human interaction has been taken away from them. But I guess if their humanity has been striped from them, then their animal instinct takes over. Humans are animals after all. So it actually make since for children lost in the woods to trace back to their uncivilized thoughts in order to survive. But in the mist of survival, the longer they are from people, the more they forget who they were. The effect is worse for the youngest of children.
Now imagine if these kids were raised by ghosts. There’s no way to tell what would happen, since the theology of ghosts can vary depending on cultures, but for the most, you know these kids will have ha hard comprehending the living and the dead. Though they will know they are alive, do they know that their caretaker is dead? It’s actually an interesting idea for a fantasy horror story that is told in Mama. Coming from executive producer Guillermo del Toro, I knew that I was in for a movie that was at least creepy in tone.
The movie opens with a businessman who takes his daughters, Victoria and Lilly, into a cabin in the middle of the woods. He had just killed his wife and some business associates and tends to kill his children in a murder-suicide. But a mysterious creature kills the man before anything, leaving the girls on their own. The creature then takes a liking to the girls, raising them as her own.
Five years later, the mans brother Lucas and his girlfriend Annabel (played by Jennifer Chastain) are still looking for the missing girls. He gets a call from the searchers when they come across the cabin and find the children, more animal like and calling out for “Mama”. Though the girls are completely unsuitable for society, Lucus decides to take custody of the children with full support from the psychologist responsible for the mental being of the girls, Dr. Dreyfuss (played by Daniel Kash). The girls come home for an attempt at a normal life, despite the chagrin of Annabel, who doesn’t like children. She quickly senses something wrong when they keep calling for “Mama” through the walls. The apparition has followed the girls to take them back.
This was an interesting scary movie. As in interesting as in that this is a movie that provides scares without resorting to too many jump scares or gory violence. It’s rated PG-13, though I guarantee that this is not for the week of heart. The creepy atmosphere pays off by shading the entire story with a shade of unnerving fear. Mama actually feels like a scary nightmare about children.
This nightmare works thanks to a story that has a lot more depth then I would have thought. Mama carries a chilling backstory about the spirit that wants the girls and provides a good set of characters to look into it. I liked seeing Jessica as a woman who has the most trouble adjusting (playing in a rock band and sporting a punk attitude, she’s like a child herself), yet finding herself as the only chance the girls have for a real life. The psychologist was another surprise, as most of them seem keen on taking away these kids. This guy actually wants the uncle to win and goes far into finding out who Mama is.
I’ll give this four blue moths out of five. If you see the movie, the image of my rating will make sense. As I said, Mama is only for those that are willing to dive into a nightmare. Those that are expecting a gore fest will be disappointed. This is a movie that relies on the uncertainty of the environment.