The Movie: 6/10
A movie with creepy kids and spooky floating ghost women, it can’t be too awful bad…and it’s not. I can admit that I pre-judge move movies that promise scares. The fear of no fear inducing moments keeps me in that mode of snottiness, and that’s hard for a flick to overcome. Mama won me over a little at a time. It has it’s weaknesses, of course, but over all I had a good time and had a few “holy crap” flashes throughout.
Two young girls are raised in a cabin in the woods by a benevolent ghostly mother figure, Mama. She’s kept them alive, and they have kept her company. This sounds like it could be a comedy almost, or some type of ironic intellectual jaunt. If not for a mental institution, a suicide, a baby mourned, and two young girls caught up in this tragically sad (if not somewhat unoriginal) story. Never mind the idiot grown ups, a pointless uncle, terrible murderous father, potential rock’n’roll wannabe step mother, and exceedingly boring useless greedy ambitious child Psychiatrist. They could be clipped and left on the old-fashioned editing room floor for all I care.
The two young girls and the creepy ghost mother rule the roost. The vibe is uncomfortable enough. The special effects are pretty darn good, just don’t pause. The sound is freaky and good. Overall it’s a good movie watching experience for even a slight skeptic like me. I guess I don’t have much to say because I want you to try it on for size yourself. If you demand hard-core gore and frights, it might not be up your alley. If you like cerebral thinking movies with complex twists and turns that make your brain work for you, again, Mama might not challenge those urges. It is what it is. A bit of style over substance, but then there are moments of pure blissful movie magic. Watch for the little girl playing tug of war, a blanket pulled between her and someone off-screen. The giggle is sweet until…….
Trust me, it can make for a quality movie night, paired with maybe The Omen or The Shining, just to keep things in perspective.
- Matriarchal Secrets – I actually thought the character of Mama was CGI, I was dead wrong. This six-minute featurette takes you through the special effects of the movie.
- Deleted Scenes –Six deleted scenes with commentary. Nothing that really adds to the experience though.
- Original Short With Intro By Guillermo Del Toro – The original three-minute short that inspired the movie. This is a must see.
- The Birth Of Mama – A 10 minute look behind the scenes. This is actually better than the usual EPK style features you see on Blu-Ray.
- Feature Commentary – Brother & Sister Writing Duo Andy & Barbara Muschetti talk you through the movie. This is a very detailed technical track if you are interested in the art of filmmaking give it a listen.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
This cover is sufficiently creepy, and therefore I approve. I might just have it as a poster in my house, some place in a dark corner. The menu is just navigation, with the added bonus of not being very intuitive (per Ascully himself).
Audio & Video: 5/10
The first thing you will notice about Mama is how dark the movie is, I asked a friend who saw this theatrically and he confirmed it was like that in the cinema as well. So what we have here is a faithful transfer but the blacks are so crushed shadow detail is totally lost. This might have been a stylistic choice but to me it was downright distracting. There were also some digital halos around people on occasion.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track fairs way better with a rich enveloping experience that puts you in the middle of the horror. This is one of those movies that uses sound to unnerve you and the disc does that wonderfully. Even the LFE channel wakes up many times and scares you with its thump thump pow. Mama is slightly let down by the quality of the video but the audio is marvelous in every way.
For some good creep out moments and enough extras to fill in the curiosity about how it was made, a good price would be in the $15 range. If you don’t see it for that, rent it and have a fright night, but add something truly scary, whatever that is for you. For me, The Exorcist always freaks me out.
Overall Score 6/10