Before I saw Mama in theaters, I knew nothing about it. I don’t have TV channels so I miss a lot of commercials (Yay!) and movie trailers (Boo). All I knew was that it was a PG-13 horror movie, which was fine because I am always down for a scary movie, good or bad. Bad movies have value for me, comedic value (ba da bum).
Although Mama has many traditional ad classic horror story elements, it is a true continuation of Guillermo del Toro’s work and style by mixing the genre with universal elements like family and love, but also how a mother’s love can be found in the most unlikely of places.
The story begins with Jeffrey (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a classic narcissist who decides that it would be easier to kill his family and then himself rather than face his apparent financial and violent crimes. After murdering his estranged wife, Jeffrey kidnaps his two young daughters, Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nélisse). He takes off at a ridiculous speed, with kids in tow, causing the car to spin out of control and off of the snowy mountain road. Having survived the accident, Jeffrey and the girls wander the frigid and wintry woods until they discover a seemingly empty and intentionally cliché cabin.
Five years later, the girl’s Uncle and Jeffrey’s brother, Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, yes again lol), has been spending all of his time and money looking for the missing girls. His hired investigators finally find the cliché in the woods along with the two little girls still living in the cabin. But, Jeffrey is no where to be found.
After being alone for the past 5 years, the girls have reverted to a feral and primitive state in order to survive the harsh conditions without the love and care of an adult. Once rescued, the girls work with a psychologist, Dr. Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash), who uncovers an imaginary caregiver that the girls created to give them the love and attention that developing children require. They called her Mama, but is she only in their imaginations?
Staying true to his own style, as executive producer of Mama, Guillermo del Toro presents a horror story that has universally true themes such as the love between a child and a mother and loving non-traditional family structures.
I really enjoyed Nikolaj Coster-Wadau in both of his roles because of his convincing nature and because both parts were written so well by director Andrés Muschietti, Barbara Muschietti, and Neil Cross. The girl’s Father, Jeffrey, was a wealthy businessman but also very evil and cowardly while his brother, Lucas, was a compassionate and kind starving artist. The same actor playing polar opposite roles could have been lame and corny but instead, I found it quite striking and moving. Coster-Wadau was so convincing that I had to look him up on imdb to make sure that both parts were him.
I really did like this movie so I will keep all of my soiler-comments to myself. If you did want to discuss the more specific parts of the film email me at firstname.lastname@example.org