I’m afraid that it’s time for another horror film and this one is certainly not very good at all. In fact, it’s one of the weaker horror films, but I suppose the writers and producers can take solace in the fact that they tried to grab as many horror tropes as they could. This is probably a good film to show people if you want to explain why the horror genre just isn’t good. There’s no other reason to check this film out though so you’ll want to stay as far away as you possibly can.
The film starts off with a guy taking his kids to an abandoned shelter in the forest so he can destroy them, but a creature puts an end to them first. This creature then takes care of the kids for many years until Lucas shows up and brings them back to civilization. Together with Annabel, he tries to rehabilitate them and get them to act like normal kids. The problem is that the creature doesn’t like this turn of events and prepares to show them what true power really is.
While the plot may sound slightly different, it’s essentially the same old same old. The ghost is now in the house and it keeps haunting Annabel time after time after time. “Mama” never actually does anything though so maybe she was just enjoying the jump scares. No matter, it worked out well for Annabel. Even when the creature had Annabel alone, it never made a move. At least we do know that it can fight though so I’ll give the film some slight props there. Mama is slightly weaker than other characters like the Grudge as it doesn’t seem like it can really do any reality warping. Still, it has the ability to corrupt and destroy what it touches. It steals the life force of its prey, albeit a little slowly. It has basic super strength and speed as well. We can’t forget the levitation either and its ability to summon edible moths. Mama’s not a great villain, but at least the monster actually got to appear and had a distinct design and power set. It could have almost been sympathetic since it helped the kids out and all. The ending wrecks that though as it decides to take out another kid for the prophecy. The ghost should have realized that such a move would probably hurt the kid, but I guess she’ll settle for having the ghost spirit as a friend instead.
Lets start talking about the array of negatives in the film. To start with, there is animal violence. I definitely saw that coming. The two wolves dying in the opening credits weren’t as bad as they could be since it was all drawn using crayons. However, we then saw the kids eating moths later on which was very gruesome and disturbing. That’s a nice way to lose some points, but the film was really just getting started.
Annabel and Lucas are pretty bad characters and that’s why you will end up rooting for the Step Aunt, Cousin, something person. She wanted custody of the kids and while she wouldn’t have fared too well, she would have done better than this pair. Lucas is knocked out for most of the film and when he does show up, he’s knocked out rather easily. He talked a good game, but crumbled when it counted and shouldered all of the responsibility on Annabel even though she never wanted a part in this. He was rather rude the whole time. Annabel’s not that great either although at least she ignores the bad advice that her friends were giving her. She gradually learns to get better with the kids. Still, she helps us get to the next horror cliche of the two leads messing around with each other only to stop when the villains…or in this case the kids show up. One thing you know from horror movies is that ghosts don’t like to see any inappropriate behavior and it usually costs your life.
As for the beginning of the film it still doesn’t make a lot of sense. I thought it was hinting that the Dad was going to murder the kids because of the ghost or some kind of plot twist. By the time you reach the ending, the only real conclusion you can come to is that the guy was just insane. It’s rather grim and dark for no real reason and the plot didn’t have any reason to be here. It’s good that the ghost was watching, but we didn’t need any more villainous characters. The ending manages to top the beginning in how bad it is though and destroys the movie even further. What could have maybe scratched by at a 2 ends up going all the way over.
By the end, it was all futile. The ghost grabs one of the kids and jumps off with her. The little girl dies and will likely now be a moth monster like the Mama. It’s definitely pretty dark and that’s the kind of ending that you never really want to see. I don’t mind the classic “Villain comes out of the closet in the final scene to destroy the main characters” as it is more of an implied sad ending as opposed to a direct one. Ending with this just makes the whole story pointless. The villain won and now she can return whenever she wants to get the other kid. I also don’t think it makes much sense since she had been raising the children and protecting them all those years.
Naturally, I also didn’t care for the fact that the film revolved around the two little girls so much. It was rather gruesome to see them in the initial appearance as they were in very poor condition from living in the wilderness so long. They even lost their ability to speak for a while and while the older one started to get better, it was definitely a pretty dicey plot. It’s one that wasn’t handled all that badly, but throw in the deranged Mama who was watching their every moves and it was definitely not all that fun.
Overall, Mama is not a good horror film in the slightest. The ending cements it as a completely terrible movie. The characters are all pretty bad for the most part and the villain doesn’t make any sense either. Lucas in particular is rather annoying as he takes the time to get lost in the forest for a whole day even when he knows that Annabel is being haunted at home and asked him to get home as soon as possible. It’s little things like that which remind you that this is a horror movie so none of the characters are going to act very smart. If you want a good horror movie to watch instead…you’re going to need to do some intense searching!