This isn’t a film I had much interest in seeing, but given it’s directed by Andy Muschietti (who later went on to do It Chapters 1 and 2), I was holding out hope that it could transcend the typical Hollywood ghost story. As it turns out, while there were a few things in Mama to enjoy, it wasn’t really able to do that.
Off the bat, the first thing I noticed was Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was one of the stars. Now, I know him only from Game of Thrones, but I still thought it was sort of cool seeing him here. Jessica Chastain I know only from the aforementioned It Chapter 2, and she was pretty good here also. I really liked her punk look, and the fact that she was thrown into the role of a mother was pretty heart-wrenching. I really liked Coster-Waldau and Chastain together – they made a cute couple here, only to be ruined by the children, though Megan Charpentier, who played the older kid, was pretty decent.
The only other character that really made an impact (aside from Mama, of course) was Dr. Dreyfuss (played by Daniel Kash). It’s through him that we, the audience, discover the story behind Edith, the woman who becomes the ghostly Mama. Her story isn’t without interest or tragedy, but to be blunt, I didn’t find myself caring that much.
There is a really solid scene about thirty minutes into the film, where the camera shows both the hallway and the kid’s room, and something happens there that I thought was pretty cool. It was expected, no doubt, but I still liked the execution. I bring that up because otherwise, I didn’t think there were that many noteworthy things in the film. There was an okay dream sequence, and the emotional ending was solid, but otherwise, it was just generic ghost movie #1523.
Mama had potential, and I wish the final product was better. The design for Mama wasn’t great, in my opinion, but what helped the film avoid a worse rating was the feeling the film occasionally possessed. Seeing Charpentier slowly warm up to Chastain’s character was nice, and the ending, like I said, packed a decently emotional punch. Mama isn’t a great movie, and I do think it’s below average, but I could probably see myself giving it another go in the future, and perhaps if I’m in a better mood, the movie will come out slightly more enjoyable.