Writer:Andres Muschietti Barbara Muschietti
Cast:Jessica Chastain – Annabel Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – Lucas & Jeffrey Megan Charpentier – Victoria Isabelle Nelisse – Lilly Daniel Kash – Dr. Dreyfuss Javier Botet – Mama
When I heard that this movie had some connection to Del Toro I had to watch it, then people I knew were talking about it and saying things like it freaked them out and how good it was. When we had a recent movie night this was one of the featured movies I was really excited to watch it.
Sadly the only connection Del Toro had to the movie is that he was the executive producer. Now, his fingerprints are all over this movie. It feels like something that he would make; he does have this very diverse style considering all of the different projects that he has worked on but they all have the very polished dark feeling and this movie has it. The production values are extremity high and there is a fantastic combination of CGI and practice effects making this movie look amazing. There was a couple of moments were what I thought was CG almost pulled me out of the movie turned out not to be CG at all but I’ll get to that in a little bit.
The beginning of the movie relies on a couple things. The first is that children in danger makes people care more. It’s something that a lot of writers do to make you care and it works well here. A dather who is in the middle of a breakdown kills three people including his wife, drags his two young girls out into the middle of nowhere and plans on killing them as well. This is where we get the introduction to Mama who stops him but then the two girls living out in the woods with only Mama to take care of them. Then we have the second thing that they rely on in subtle ways later but very much in the beginning is that we find little kids creepy in some way. The rest of the movie we can see that there is a lot still wrong with the kids and they react to the world around them. Yes, the “scary” part pf the movie deals with Mama nut it always boils back down to the kids and this is both a good and bad thing. The story devolves into a ghost haunting the two girls and this poor woman has to deal with it who really wants nothing to do with the role that was given. There are some subplots but they don’t really go anywhere so we are left with this really strong base that starts to feel a little stale in hindsight. Looking back I really can’t think of any real relevant plot points other than some people close to the girls gets hurt.
The actors are a hit and a miss this time around as well. The girls who played Victoria and Lilly, Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nelisse respectively, are fantastic. The best part is that they actually stay in character of girls who were at one point very much feral animals. Later I saw that they kind of cheated on that because one of the girls really can’t speak any English. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was an actor that I liked but frankly didn’t see enough of him which is a little weird because he played both the father and the uncle. Jessica Chastain plays Annabel the reluctant girlfriend.. sometimes I thought she was fine but her character was not written very well and that is shown a little too often. The best was Javier Botet who played Mama which was shocking to me. What he was able to do with his joints was amazing and if nothing else watch it for him.
The downsides of this movie was that it really wasn’t the strongest writing, too often Annabel would do something and no normal person would react the way that she did and it really pulled me out of a really cool experience. The effects were fairly good though I worry that it may look dated by the start of 2015. Like most movies now the end sucked, I’m sorry it sucked in my opinion. There is some silver linings to it but it was a killjoy for me.
If you like old haunting movies, enjoy the Del Toro style of film making or you enjoy some very cool looking effects than this movie may just be for you. If you overlook some of the storytelling it is actually a really good looking movie and is a great through back to classic haunts.