Film Review: MAMA (2013) – directed by Andrés Muschietti

Posted: January 23, 2013 in Film Reviews
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MAMA (2013) - directed by Andrés Muschietti

The last half hour of Andrés Muschietti’s MAMA (2013) contains some of the most frightening imagery I’ve ever seen in a horror film. The sound design is superb, the cinematography is stunning, the performances are riveting and the character design of the titular “Mama” hearkens back to the childhood scarring character of Zelda from PET SEMATARY (1989).

Too bad the first 70 minutes of the picture are some of the dumbest ever recorded on film.

Plot holes, lapses in logic and paper-thin characterizations are certainly no strangers to cinema, especially in our beloved genre of horror, but director Andrés Muschietti (or Andy as he’s credited in the film) manages to redefine stupidity in this film.

How about the jaw-dropping opening plot point where we learn that it took professional trackers 5(!) years to discover the car of a prominent businessman that fell over the side of a cliff? Or the sequence where Annabel tells the two girls to go bed because it’s “very late” yet we can plainly see daylight emanating through the windows? And what about the character of Annabel herself who has to be one of the most callous, self-absorbed women I’ve ever seen in a movie. She has a husband who’s in a coma and rather than spend any chance she gets by his side offering love and moral support, she spends her time regretting leaving her frivolous little life and equally inconsequential indie rock band behind. And this is the heroine we’re supposed to be rooting for.

Stupidity aside, MAMA is also ripe with the clichés that come with ghost stories produced in a post “J-Horror” world. Women with long black hair concealing their faces, spider-walking and the tormented spirit doomed to wander between the realm of the living and the dead until our protagonist can dig up the remains of the specter’s dead loved one and promptly return them to their rightful owner are all present in this film and are just as groan-inducing as they are in the hordes of RINGU clones that continue to be produced year after year.

At the end of the day, I only have myself to blame for subjecting my psyche to this trash. After all, I should have learned my lesson from MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS (2012) that a film “presented by” an established master of cinema is merely a marketing ploy used to deceive audiences into thinking they’re going to see a film that echoes the style and substance of said master.

On the plus side, from a physical standpoint, the character of Annabel looks a lot like my wife which got me thinking, “Damn, I’m banging Jessica Chastain!”

  1. mistylayne says:

    This is really sad making because I’m really excited to see this. The short film terrified me.

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