Monday, January 21, 2013

Mama (Review)

I was a bit apprehensive going into Mama. Haunted house movies usually have the same plot.

Child sees ghost. Child tells parents. They don't believe them. Child insists ghost is real. Parents get angry. Mom, who usually stays home all day alone, notices things are amiss. She tells her fears to dad who dismisses her. She insists. He gets annoyed. Says she starting to sound like child.

Mom witnesses ghostly things and freaks out. She believes child now. She tells dad who gets really angry. Mom tries to get rid of ghost herself further angering dad. Strange things start happening around dad. He gets angrier. Blames mom and child. Ghost appears before dad and throws him across the room. Guess who believes now?

I've only ever liked one movie that used this formula. Insidious. Paranormal Activity 2 wasn't terrible but I don't watch it anymore because the dad absolutely refused to believe their house was haunted. Has to be one of the most aggravating characters ever.

This was what I thought the plot of Mama was going to be and I'm so glad it wasn't. 10 points to this movie for not adopting that totally predicable and annoying formula. 

That being said, I didn't enjoy this movie. I didn't expect it to scare me but it didn't even give me the willies. Like most atmospheric horror movies, it tries to get you to jump. Most are good at it. This one wasn't. The suspense built up was weak.

It has a unique premise but the plot let it down. I was neutral about Annabel, the female lead played by Jessica Chastain, until the end. She turned into a beast, in a good way. I was neutral about the movie until the end. They waited until the last couple of minutes to inject some knuckle-biting suspense. Seriously. The two girls, however, were well rounded characters.

I will say this. The ghost looked awesome. I can't stand Mama (the ghost not the movie) but she looked the part. Since The Grudge and The Ring, many horror movies have had paranormal entities, with elongated extra creepy faces, walking/floating/crawling in slow jerky movements. Mama was no exception. And, it still works. The last thing you want in a movie like this is a comical looking ghost. I love Insidious but the red-faced ghost nearly killed the movie. It was so bad.

Mama has some great horror elements but I wasn't into it. I'm thinking I'll rent it from Amazon when it becomes available. I read a lot of user reviews and people overall loved it, thought it was scary. It wasn't so terrible that I'm insult to call it horror but, I'm not awed by it the way I was with The Woman in Black and Sinister. Maybe I missed something.