Victoria and Lily are two children that were abandoned in a cabin in the woods, after their father had killed their mother and was about to execute a murder-suicide on his children before a ghost/entity within the cabin kills him first. Fast forward five years later, and the children’s uncle Lucas sends a couple of paid searchers to find the kids. Once found, the children are shown to be feral-like as a result of living for five years without real human contact or nurturing.
Uncle Lucas and his girlfriend Annabelle are able to take custody of Victoria and Lily, with the help of a Pyschologist, Dr.Dreyfus.
The strange entity the girls refer to as “Mama” makes her presence known in the house they are staying in. Lucas is attacked by Mama one night and put into a coma, leaving his rocker chick girlfriend Annabelle to look after the girls, despite having been apprehensive about it from the very beginning.
I liked the way the angry entity/ghost of Mama was utilized in this, especially early on in the film where we don’t see much of her, and when we do, its cleverly done in a minimal manner; it brought to mind the movie, Darkness Falls, for a while in the way the villain was used to creepy effect. Later on in the film much more of Mama is revealed and to me she started losing some of that creep factor.
The actors all played their clichéd roles well, no complaints with that aspect. The director is also very clearly talented. There were plenty of cleverly shot set pieces throughout to set up the scares and the film itself looks great.
Some of the writing made me shake my head; for example: two separate characters in different instances decide to investigate the cabin at night, armed with nothing but a flashlight. In Dr.Dreyfus’ case, he had just ran into Mama over at the house and ran like a little bitch, yet he quickly and fearlessly heads over to the creepy-ass cabin? Yes, its a horror film, I know characters are supposed to do stupid things but this was almost beyond comprehension.
As with most ghost stories of this type, as the story progresses and the pieces of the puzzle all start coming together, the horrific aspects took a back seat and really what was left was a sad drama. Mama becomes more “humanized” in some ways, losing what made her so effectively creepy to begin with.
I’ve never been one to complain about the use of well made jump scares, and Mama had a fairly decent dose of these. I know a lot of people are sick of those cheap thrills, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t mind those at all. Mama made my adrenaline pump a couple of times, I won’t lie.
Mama is a solid ghost story even though it contains all the usual clichés. With a decent cast and an overall interesting villain, it works well in providing tension and some scares. The young kids in this also gave impressive performances, while the adult cast were just okay but I’ve seen much worse.
This is by no means an upper echelon horror flick, but certainly it’s better than average and worth experiencing. I watched it alone in the dark during a thunderstorm (speaking of clichés! ) and I think it added to my experience. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend that you give it a shot.