On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 40 Minutes

Cultivated from a 3 minute youtube presentation by director/co-creator Andy Muschietti and his sister Barbara Muschietti, Mama is an extension of that idea, given a broader story and a higher budget for effects. It takes the original story of two girls coming in contact with a monster and stretching the storyline to include the two girls becoming orphaned and being raised by said monster. When their found they are taken in by their Uncle and his girlfriend, but something dark has followed them to their new home.

I heard a lot of complaints about Mama. It wasn’t scary enough, it had too many loose ends, etc etc. In the traditional of Mexican horror this film works out just fine. It’s not per say a horror story in the conventional terms where we find a killer monster psychopath looking to drag someone into a TV or die a hundred times only to come back wielding an axe for the umpteenth time. The monster found in Mama is a complex one. An otherworldly creature that is tied to reality by emotions and whose sole purpose for continuing on is a painful thread that you may choose to accept or to fight. 

I did really enjoy Chastain’s (Zero Dark Thirty) performance as an apathetic character that could care less about the kids, but who eventually understands her role in the grand scheme of things. It’s as much a coming of age story for her character as it is a bizarre realization for Mama. It’s probably not as tied together as The Orphanage, but it fairs better then Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark in contrast with recent Del Toro produced horror/fantasy films.

What I loved about the film is that the effects never reach the point where they turn you off from the horror aspects of the film. The cast is also a delight. I don’t ever recall seeing a film where the children actors steal the show, aside from Kirsten Dunst’s performance in Interview With A Vampire or Natalie Portman’s role in Leon The Professional. The kids are unsettling, making their monster forms all that more easy to imagine and become equally disturbed by. Chastain was great and the movie monster was awkwardly designed in a way that was scary, but also natural.

The picture for Mama is awesome. I was worried, as I usual am when it come to Universal BD releases, but Mama is a step above the rest. The definition is solid for a film that relies heavily on dark scenes. Color, where present, isn’t bleak or washed out. All in all the presentation found within is pretty remarkable. Audio is as well, taking great care in putting in a lot of surround sound effects to up the creep factor.

~Deleted Scenes: Some interesting, some unfinished.
~Original Short with Intro by Guillermo Del Toro: I was impressed by the short, which I had not seen before.
~The Birth of Mama
~Commentary from Andy and Barbara Muschietti

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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