This review actually went up a couple of months ago, and we kept checking back, thinking any time now, reviews are going to pop up. Soon they probably will be, since they’re giving away preview passes is certain cities, and they’re pre-screening for critics. We finally gave up and are posting a link to the review on Cinetastic.de, written by Ronny Dombrowski. He gave it 7/10 popcorn boxes, and certainly didn’t have any major complaints. Simply from reading the translation, he only mentions that the character of Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who most Game Of Thrones fans will recognize as the fine-looking actor who plays Jaime Stark) doesn’t really have much to do, or anything essential to the plot. It sounds like Jessica Chastain, however, more than has her role and character of Annabel covered. Basically, it’s not perfect, but it is original and scary as hell, with excellent effects that are frightening but not overdone.
We also get a little bit of back-story (no major spoilers), which if search terms in our daily stats are anything to go by, is something fans REALLY want more of. Even with the translate tool, I had to spend a couple of hours smoothing and polishing the review, and if the review sounds clumsy and clunky, you should have seen it after it was immediately translated.
Here’s the link if you speak German, or have an app of some kind of translation software better than Google Translate…
If you’re short on time, here’s the “review summary”, also translated:
Andres Muschietti’s “Mama” is a successful adaptation of his own short firm. The actors are excellent throughout, the story entertaining, even more so in particular at the end of the movie, so that even a [demanding fan] of horror films will be terrified.
…and here’s the translated review from Cinetastic.de, written by Ronny Dombrowski.
In the current state of the horror genre there are few innovations, which is partly why Scott Derrickson’s recent film Sinster could stand out, with a successful atmosphere with the audience. In a quite similar breach jumps director Muschietti with his film Mama and presents a collaboration with producer Guillermo del Toro with an amazingly effective end result.
Five years ago, the father of the two sisters, Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse) killed his wife and fled in the middle of a snowstorm with his two daughters in the car, then a short time later the car slid from the road and ended up in deep ditch. He fled into the woods with his two daughters, and finally the three found an old abandoned house to take shelter in, but the house was not as empty as it looked. Five years later her uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain) are still searching for his nieces and finds them (as if by a wild coincidence) in said house, but both girls have changed radically since they’ve seen them. Lucas and Annabel take the two girls and try to offer their new home, a new family, but someone completely different comes with Victoria and Lily…
Producer Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy) has been primarily known over the last twenty years known for his numerous high-quality productions. Together with director Andres Muschietti, (the movie came from his own short film in 2008), Mama has not only been adapted for the big screen, but also now supplemented by a few interesting new story twists and characters. Andres wrote the script with his wife Barbara Muschietti (Just Visiting), and screenwriter Neil Cross (Luther), a unique collaboration.
The focus of the story with Victoria and Lilly are two siblings would not be different, although both full five years have been raised by many someone or something they do not talk about except for the name “Mama.” The fact that Lucas and his rocker girlfriend Annabel had been trying for children is more than communicated clearly, this would be enough without the failing pregnancy test.
Compared to many similar horror films Mama and its message does not last long behind the scenes; The supernatural force reveals it at the beginning rather quickly, as “Mama” saves the children from their homicidal father. With a kind of maternal instinct that protects the children in the following five years, she feeds and also lives in the house where they were found, but then the children are taken from her to live with Lucas and his girlfriend. The jump-in-your-seat moments are for the most part good, if sometimes predictable, especially when signalled by the appropriate music of composer Fernando Velázquez uses (The Orphanage), though the rest of score lends the individual scenes atmosphere.
In terms of the look of Mama herself, the special effects team, led by Warren Appleby, was successful in their effort, The effects are unique and frightening. Whether you see Mama from behind, from the corners of your eyes, blurred by Victoria’s glasses, or in the open in the end, especially in the climax of the film, the low-budget effects in ”Mama” are just as high quality and effective as any big budget movies.
Looking at the individual actors a little more closely, there are noticeable differences. Because Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jo Nesbø‘s Headhunters ) as Lucas has little screen time and thus little opportunity to get himself in the movie, this leaves the movie all the more on the shoulders of Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life) , and her acting is marvelous as we see her character changes from one with an initial dislike of the children, into the person who wants to protect Lilly and Victoria at any price in the world. The real stars of “Mama” are Megan Charpentier (Red Riding Hood – Under the Wolf Moon) and Isabelle Nelisse (whitewash), who play the two children Victoria and Lilly. Their performance, especially their facial expressions, is so intense and convincing that both contribute significantly to the successful atmosphere of the film.
Update: Under “related articles”, I found a shitty, mean-spirited review by Rex Reed (with a well-earned reputation for being a catty, bitchy hack AND for hating horror movies across the board) from The Observer. He right off the bat expresses his distaste …I’m being too nice. He says all ghost movies are the same, always stupid and never scary, and gets so unnecessarily nasty and petty in the review that I took the link down. I’m not kidding, this review puts down all horror fans, will piss you off and make you want to punch him in the teeth, plus it’s clear he didn’t watch the entire movie. I’m not one of those fans who dislikes critics in general, though I do know a couple who dislike horror movies and thus whose reviews I take with a grain of salt, but I would like to go on record: Rex Reed? Fuck that guy. If I ever see him in person, I’m throwing a drink in his face (a situation I’m sure he is no stranger to).
- Guillermo del Toro Introduces You to the Original Mama (dreadcentral.com)
- Andres Muschietti & Barbara Muschietti Talk MAMA, Expanding the Story from the Original Short Film, Inspiration from Nature and Deleted Scenes (collider.com)
- 4 Clips from MAMA Starring Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (collider.com)
- Guillermo del Toro Shows Off The Horror Short That Inspired MAMA (geektyrant.com)