Kick-starting 2013’s scares with forceful impact is Mama, a film executively produced by the limitless creativity of Guillermo del Toro and directed by Andrés Muschietti in his first full length feature.
Starring the flourishing Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (HeadHunters), Mama is a real treat for fans of horror with all the perfect ingredients. There are moths, orphaned children, a malevolent female spirit, a cabin in the woods – all of which are highly recognisable from other films, but come together as one in Mama with startling consequences.
After a series of tragic events, two little girls are found alive after being abandoned in an old log cabin. Orphaned, the girls’ uncle, Lucas (Coster-Waldau), decides to adopt and civilise them; a challenging task right from the off. Along with his rock-chick girlfriend Annabel (Chastain), Lucas begins to bond with his nieces, showing them the stability and sense of security that they have for so long been without. All begins well until the jealousy of a rather horrific, ghostly character surfaces. It would seem the girls were not alone in the woods after all.
Chastain is superb as Annabel, playing the role of a scream-queen with perfect poise. Uncharacteristically, sporting dark, cropped hair and an arm of tattoos, Annabel is not a stereotypical, innocent victim, making her all the more exciting to watch. The two little girls, Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lily (Isabelle Nélisse) are the perfect catalysts for this horror movie, with their unpredictable behaviour and creepy characteristics.
The gore in Mama is kept to a minimum and instead, with the use of CGI, the film boasts a collaboration of limb-twisting sequences to rival The Exorcist. But where Mama really excels above other recent horror films, is in the depth of its plot. With parallel narratives in past and present, as both stories unravel they begin to overlap, leading to a crescendo of emotional heft, action and violence.
Mama is released nationwide on 22nd February 2013
Watch the trailer for Mama here: