05 Film Burn

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Also coming to DVD and Blu-Ray on the seventh is the gothic horror story Mama starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of Game of Thrones fame (he plays Jamie Lannister) and Jessica Chastain from Zero Dark Thirty. The film also stars two child actors, Isabelle Nélisse and Megan Charpentier (she plays The Red Queen in Resident Evil: Retribution). This is a hard genre in any medium to work in because there are so many stories spanning from great to horrible that there is almost literally no way to make a story seem original in it. How did Mama stack up and should you buy, rent, or pass? SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!

Mama tells the story of two young girls who, after their father goes on a small killing spree and abducts them, are raised by a ghost. Five years after this event, the girls are found and brought to live with their uncle who has spent all his money searching for them. The plot reveals that the ghost is that of a woman who threw herself and her baby from a cliff as strange events start happening in the home where the newly reunited family lives. The ending, starts as the classic “here’s your baby’s remains” and then takes a bitter sweet turn at the very end. It is actually a very familiar ending from the producer of whom you may have heard, Guillermo del Toro.

Let’s start with the good in this film. Nikolaj is an amazing actor and he does not fail us in this role. We are fully convinced that he loves these two girls. He even plays the girls father (the twin brother of their uncle) and delivers the complete illusion that they are two different people. Chastain, Nélisse, and Charpenteir also deliver great performances that make us anxious to see them in more. The special effects are clean and smoothly rendered and the score to the film is quite eerie and haunting.

But there is bad to this film as well. First, the pacing of the story seems a little off and can cause boredom at times. In fact, I found myself playing a game onthe phone for a few minutes while it played. Also, while the effects were clean and smooth, I did not particularly like the design of the ghost. Mama seemed less of a malicious entity and more of a ghost suffering from Muscular Dystrophy and Downs Syndrome. The most damning factor to this film though is that nothing original was put into the story. Mama was an escaped mental patient, she threw herself and her child from a cliff, she wondered the forests as a ghost seeking her missing child, she was pacified (albeit temporarily) when given the remains of her child – all of these elements are generic elements of the gothic horror genre. We give the film 

Given the pros and cons of this film, we cannot suggest you buy this film unless you absolutely have to have every good example of this genre in your collection. If you must, get the blu-ray simply for the beautiful cinematography and special effects. Should you rent it then? Sure, but don’t expect a mind-blowingly original experience. And if you don’t, you’re not missing out on anything groundbreaking.

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