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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Review of "Mama"



"Mama" is a Universal Pictures horror film made in 2013 by Andres Muschietti. I'm giving a review to this because I watched it properly this evening in the dark. This is not a film to watch IF you suffer from epilepsy (such as myself, I had to shield away from the flashes of light). The majority of the film is in deep shadow and darkness. Not sure if that's the way it is or it's me. Or my TV. My TV isn't dark set btw. Just I had difficulty seeing anything in the film and was puzzled about what was going on. I felt like I've missed a portion of it and went by the sounds and voices. I didn't like the way it was done, as it was too dark, and might as well of listened to it instead. Darkness aside, the story was basically a paranormal story. It goes like this:

The beginning was outside of a house with a car radio, and a father takes his two small daughters into the car for a trip. The eldest daughter Victoria asks him where they're going. Father puts the breaks on and speeds up along a narrow icy road. The daughter cries "you're going too fast". Father ignores her, and she says it again. He turns round and gives her a mouthful, not paying attention to his driving. The car skids across the ice and falls over a cliff. It lands somewhere below in a forest. All three are alive and uninjured, and they find a strange little house with musical windchimes. Here the father breaks down and picks up a gun, assuming he's about to do something terrible. Then he's attacked by an unseen force. Victoria, who was able to see clearly despite breaking her glasses, noticed a strange woman outside earlier on. The strange woman is the entity that gives the two children a warm fire and cherries to eat over the next five years.  Both girls and their dead father are missing to the outside world.

Victoria and sister Lilly are found in the house, wild and dirty. Lilly, who was a toddler five years earlier, has grown feral, but Victoria remembers her life from before the accident. She's visited by her uncle Lucas, brother of her dad, who's been killed by an entity five years before. He seeks custody of the children after they've been under the care of Doctor Gerald Greyfuss. But aunt Jean, who's the sister of the girls' mother, demands custody allowed only visiting rights on Thursdays. Lucas brings the girls to his new home and they meet his girlfriend, a heavy metal musician called Annabel, and Lilly called her "Mama". Now "Mama" is the name the girls often describe whoever was looking after them in the forest for the last five years when they were missing. Soon the doctor, Annabel and uncle Lucus are finding out that "Mama" is there with them and will never leave them. It's not even a nice spirit, who's own life from the Victorian era was very tragic.

The story doesn't present the mother figure very well. The mother of the two girls is missing (dead) from the beginning of the film, and their foster mother was a very creepy looking ghost, who turned nasty and almost killed Annabel who was looking after them while Lucus was in hospital after being attacked by "Mama". The blood relative aunt was almost uncaring and aloof, determined to call social services on the family just because she didn't want them living there with Lucus and Annabel. And because of the state of the wild children who were not yet fully adjusted to being in a normal life. "Mama" was a very dangerous spirit because all she wanted was to keep the two girls to replace a child she'd lost over 150 years before.

I couldn't physically bare to watch this film again as it was painful during a flash photography scene with Lucus taking pictures of the ghost "Mama". It was mostly filmed in pitch black, so I had to turn off all the lights to see something. The eerie grimness is the only thing that made it a nice creepy ghost fairytale.        

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