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Mama

9/10
Horror
 

Guillermo del Toro presents Mama, a supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their parents were killed. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night.

 
Actors: Megan Charpentier , Nikolaj Coster-Waldau , Jessica Chastain , Isabelle Nélisse , Daniel Kash , Melina Matthews
Directors: Andrés Muschietti
Country: CANADA
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Tasha Robinson
The A.V. Club

Plenty of horror movies are willing to settle for making audiences jump. Mama is more ambitious by far: It makes sure viewers are emotionally committed even when they aren't clutching their armrests or covering their eyes.


Manohla Dargis
The New York Times

Instead of delivering buckets of guts and gore, this ghost story offers a strong sense of time and place, along with the kind of niceties that don't often figure into horror flicks, notably pictorial beauty, an atmosphere throbbing with dread and actors so good that you don't want anyone to take an ax to them.


Roger Moore
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Horror is all about that short-circuit the screen's technical manipulations cause in our brain, so this isn't high art. But Mama is easily the most moving, most chilling ghost story since "Insidious," an emotional tale efficiently and affectingly told.


Kevin C. Johnson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The finale is heavy on CGI. But it never takes away from this respectable entry into the horror genre that values chills over kills.


Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle

Mama is skillfully made, and although Chastain is the best thing in it, she's not the only thing in it.


Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer

An effectively spooky ghost story with Guillermo del Toro's imprimatur (he's executive producer), Mama is every adoptive parent's nightmare: What if the children you bring home start eating moths and toilet paper, and won't come out from under the bed? And when they do, it's only to do something hurtful?


Lawrence Toppman
Charlotte Observer

Muschietti does an excellent job of revealing just enough about Mama as we go along (and just enough of Mama herself) to show he's in control of this genre.


Richard Roeper
Chicago Sun-Times

Movies like Mama are thrill rides. We go to be scared and then laugh, scared and then laugh, scared and then shocked. Of course, there's almost always a little plot left over for a sequel. It's a ride I'd take again.


Emily Rome
Entertainment Weekly

Nothing in the movie is quite original, yet Muschietti, expanding his original short, knows how to stage a rip-off with frightening verve.


Dana Stevens
Slate

Like most haunted-house stories, Mama gets steadily less scary as its (for the most part, fairly predictable) secrets unfold. But even if the beats are familiar, Muschietti sustains a remarkable mood throughout: wintry, elemental and stark, like a late Sylvia Plath poem.


David Edelstein
New York Magazine (Vulture)

The plotting isn't fresh, and the politics are a tad reactionary, but the movie is also shapely, rounded, satisfying - a classical ghost story.


Todd McCarthy
The Hollywood Reporter

Mama represents a throwback and a modest delight for people who like a good scare but prefer not to be terrorized or grossed out.


Stephanie Zacharek
Film.com

Mama is one of those pictures that holds you aloft on its vaporous mood of dread – the occasional silliness of the plot mechanics don’t matter so much.


Louis Black
Austin Chronicle

Haunting and extremely atmospheric, Mama is a horror film imbued with an unsettling and affecting power.


James Berardinelli
ReelViews

Narrative weakness and bad horror tropes get in the way and Mama's ending disappoints.


Kyle Smith
New York Post

First-time writer-director Andy Muschietti, an Argentine discovered by Guillermo del Toro, relies too much, especially in the early going, on horror clichés (sudden loud noises and jagged blasts of music), but he does make the tension hum.


Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

Chastain digs deep, going beyond the call of scream-queen duty to find the passion that gives horror a pulse.


Mike Scott
New Orleans Times-Picayune

It's a good, old-fashioned sit-around-the-campfire ghost story, one that delivers on its sole reason for existence: to raise the hairs on the back of your arms.


Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal

Mama itself is above average as a piece of filmmaking, even if its scare quotient is middling or below. That's OK with me. I was content to be impressed by the skill of the first-time director, Andrés Muschietti; absorbed by the performances and smitten by some startling images.


Keith Uhlich
Time Out New York

Expertly conjured atmosphere only gets Muschietti so far, but there's enough genuine promise here that you're willing to cut this talented newcomer some slack.


Ian Buckwalter
NPR

What more often sinks Mama is, well, Mama herself. Much like another recent homage to a spookier era of horror, 2011's "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" - which, like Mama, was executive-produced by Guillermo del Toro - Muschietti's film shows its monster too early and too often.


Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times

Beautifully envisioned, badly constructed, the only truly terrifying things in the new horror movie Mama are the fake tattoos, short black hair and black T-shirts meant to turn "Zero Dark Thirty" star Jessica Chastain into a guitar-shredding, punk rocker chick.


Adam Nayman
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

The film's long middle section is basically "Paranormal Activity" sans that series' handicam aesthetic, as things go bump in the night and the grown-ups take forever to get their act together.


Marc Mohan
Portland Oregonian

The visual design of Mama is effective, at least in small, quick doses. But those are about all the positives for this example of why a solid audition reel doesn't necessarily mean you're ready to churn out a feature.


Tom Russo
Boston Globe

The frustration, though, is how much the movie leans on made-ya-jump scares and contrived plot devices when its quieter chills and already fraught setups are so potent.


Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic

The atmosphere is appropriately creepy, and there are some starts, if not outright scares...But it just gets stupid.


Justin Chang
Variety

Mama, for all her digital and prosthetic creepiness, is finally a bit of a bore.


Rex Reed
New York Observer

Trading in her red locks for kohl-lined eyes like a raccoon and the vampire look of Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, [Chastain] is the spookiest thing in Mama. Everything else is cable television.


Xan Brooks
The Guardian

It has been converted into a proficient, machine-tooled horror flick, stuffed full of shocks and buttressed with back-story. Mama got so flabby the second time around.


Mary Pols
Time

Mama is clumsily written and choppily edited, but Chastain doesn't have a bad scene in it, and you can see why she chose to be in this supernatural ghost story.


Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News

If you're going to have a ghost in your movie, it might be a good thing to present a viable alternative to that ghost. Mama, however, presents a battle between two not very good options before crumbling like a sheet on a string.


Melissa Anderson
Village Voice

Mama never delivers the primal terror its premise would suggest.


Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post

There's something dead and rotting at the center of Mama, and it isn't the ghost of the woman who lends the horror film its title.


Erik McClanahan
The Playlist

By the time the ridiculous child psychologist character encounters a government employee with a convenient bounty of useful information, Mama just becomes laughable, then annoying.


Ed Gonzalez
Slant Magazine

The premise isn't even worthy of executive producer Guillermo del Toro, who will apparently lend his name to any film as long as it fulfills its quota of moths and vulvic openings.


Add Soundtrack

1. Missing Pieces ( Performer: Jack White )


2. Vampire Guitar ( Performer: Mr. Mîsael & los Atormentados )


3. The After Dinner Payback ( Performer: 'From Autumn To Ashes' )


4. Somebody That I Used To Know ( Performer: Gotye featuring Kimbra )


5. Nightmares ( Performer: Junkie XL )


6. The Encounter and Main Title ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


7. Helvetia ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


8. Mama Fight ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


9. A New Home ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


10. The Car and the Radio ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


11. Good Night ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


12. Desange Folder ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


13. Voices from the Other Room ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


14. You Guys Talk a Lot! ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


15. Victoria and Mama ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


16. Last Hypno ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


17. Wilson Pass ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


18. Observation Room ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


19. What Happens Now? ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


20. Scare and Lucas Wake Up ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


21. The Painted Wall / The Doll ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


22. Vic in the Laptop Archive ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


23. Last Reel ( Performer: Fernando Velazquez Itunes )


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