“A ghost is an emotion bent out of shape, condemned to repeat itself time and time again.”
– Dr Dreyfus’s Secretary
Jeffrey Desange (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) rushes home after murdering his business partners and estranged wife in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis. He picks up his two daughters, three-year-old Victoria (Megan Charpentie) and one-year-old Lilly (Isabelle Nélisse). He flees the town and on dangerous roads, in the middle of an argument with his daughter he loses control over his car and crashes over the edge. Coming to a stop, he takes his kids and starts to trek through the snow. They come across a cabin, and he is sure of some safety for a while. However, Jeffrey has a dark plan. He intends to murder his daughters and commit suicide. There is something in the house though, something that appears to wish to look after the girls, and that kills Jeffrey when he attempts to shoot Victoria.
Jeffrey’s identical twin brother Lucas has been incessantly looking for his brother and his nieces. No luck has come from it, though one day a rescue party discovers the car that Jeffrey fled in. The girls are found, but they are most certainly not the girls that were left behind. They are feral, angry, afraid and unapproachable. They are taken to a welfare clinic and analysed by a Dr Gerald Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash). Lucas is thrilled that the girls are home, and is intent on caring for them. His girlfriend Annabel Moore (Jessica Chastain) is not really up for the job – rocker and hard partier, she is not really equipped for dealing with children.
The more Dreyfuss looks into what happened to the girls for all the years they were alone out there, the less he actually knows. The study of the girls is not really going quite as planned. Victoria seems to be opening up far more than her sister, though she keeps referring to “Mama”, who seems to be some illusion that the girls made up to survive while they were out in the wild. Lucas enters into a custody battle with the girls’ maternal aunt, Jean Podolski (Jane Moffat), and is almost on the brink of losing when Dreyfuss offers them a life-line: he continues to study the girls and their behaviour, and the clinic provides a house and grant. Naturally, they take it. However, strange things start happening in the house with the girls, and ultimately an attack by some unknown entity lands Lucas in the hospital, and the care of the girls’ lands squarely on Annabel’s shoulders.
Lilly is incredibly hostile and difficult to get alone with, though Annabel is making some form of progress with Victoria. Victoria warns Annabel about “Mama”, and Annabel eventually goes to Dreyfuss to help out. He starts investigating more seriously the claims the children have of “Mama” and her jealousy, and quickly begins to make some serious progress. Victoria has a story about “Mama”, which turns out to be true when Dreyfuss does further research. Lucas is also visited by nightmares and dreams similar to Annabel, and soon it seems that everyone is doing their own independent research into the matter.
Will “Mama” continue to prove to be such a terribly jealous mother figure of the girls? Will Dreyfuss ever really work out what is going on with the girls? Will he ever be able to let go of all his schooling to look deeper into the supernatural rather than just books? Will Annabel ever feel safe around the girls, and when will Lucas be coming home to take over the burden of kids?
A 3/10 for Mama. I mean what the hell was that even all about? It came in so highly recommended from a friend (I didn’t really have too much faith in the opinion; our tastes vastly differ, but still). What an absolute disaster. The story premise started well enough, had that inexplicable and dark fairytale type of feel and then veered off course so quickly. Jessica Chastain is a really good actress, but was not the fit for the role at all. Her talents were a little wasted on this. The short, spiky, funky dark hair, Misfits tees and sleeved tats were just not her thing. There were gaping plot holes in this story, and the story itself was so flimsy, even without the massive holes lurking around it. It was like casting a giant net out to see what would catch and what could stick. Then, of course, there was the terrifying factor of being chased by a wig. Ooooooh scary! There was not nearly enough of anything decent to save this movie, in my opinion. It had a decent cast (bear in mind, decent, not phenomenal), what with the Kingslayer and all that, but just… no. The CGI in this film was truly some of the worst I have ever laid eyes on – in a while that is – and that is saying something! No, this is absolutely not worth checking out, but is seriously worth giving a skip. I do not know how this one got so popular or how it got raved about so much, but I for one was incredibly disappointed with the story, the effects, the overall everything about it.