Title: Mama (2013)
Director: Andrés Muschietti (Mama, short)
Cast: Jessica Chastain (“The Help”, “Zero Dark Thirty”, “Take Shelter“), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Game of Thrones“, “Kingdom Of Heaven“, “Blackhawk Down”), Megan Charpentier (“Supernatural“, “Jennifer’s Body“, “Resident Evil”), Isabelle Nélisse (“Whitewash”)
Synopsis: Annabel and Lucas are faced with the challenge of raising his young nieces that were left alone in the forest for 5 years…. but how alone were they?
I know everyone is raving about Jessica Chastain but can we, just for a few minutes talk about Megan Charpentier (Victoria) and Isabelle Nélisse (Lilly) and the amazing job they do in this film. Young actors continue to blow me away lately. First there was Pierce Gagnon (Pierce in “Looper”) and now these two young women.
Charpentier plays Victoria with an emotional depth that it’s a surprise coming from a 12 year old. I expected two seasoned actors like Chastain and Coster-Waldau to hit a home run with this film – the young actors surprised me. Isabelle Nélisse who hardly says a word in the film has such an expressive face and is a joy to watch. I’m looking forward to seeing what these young talents get up to in the future.
While I didn’t find Chastain 100% believable as a punk-rock-riot-gurl character I would still recommend this film. This has all the pieces of the puzzle that come together to make a fantastic old-school horror movie. This is a ghost story – or a love story – or maybe a horror film. It’s all in your perspective.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays both psychotic Father Jeffrey and twin brother and Uncle – Lucas. Naturally, an actor of Coster-Waldau’s experience had no trouble playing these polar opposite characters. Some of his scenes with the children were the most moving in the film. He’s believable as a father, hero and confused Uncle.
This is a frightening movie. There are a few good jump-scares, my husband nearly dislocated my elbow during one of them but it’s also eerie. The atmosphere is earthy and weedy and cold and dark and all the things one might have come to expect with any project Guillermo del Toro’s (“Pan’s Labywrinth”, “Hellboy”, “Mimic”, “The Devil’s Backbone”) name is associated with. It was very reminiscent of “The Devil’s Backbone” (2001) and I’m beginning to wonder what childhhood issues has warped del Toro mind toward such horror nearly always centering on children.
“Mama” came from a short film by director, Andrés Muschietti. He sent copy of his short to del Toro and thus began their journey. The film fleshed out well into a full length feature and I certainly hope that Muschietti has some more stories in that brain of his.