Mama (2013) Review

Yell! Magazine’s Review:

Executive director Guillermo del Toro presents the horror film Mama. Based on the 2008 Argentine short film, Mama, this Spanish influenced flick is based on the ghostly spirit known as Mama and two orphaned girls. The movie stars Jessica Chastain as Annabel and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Lucas Desange and Jeffrey Desange, along with Megan Charpentier as Victoria Desange, and Isabelle Nélisse as Lilly Desange. Mama is currently available using DirecTV On Demand. has special offers available if you don’t currently have a DirecTV subscription.

The opening of the film presents Jeffrey Desange, who is going through a financial disaster. He decides to kill his wife, business partners and two infant daughters Victoria and Lilly. He succeeds in killing the adults, and then flees to a forest cabin that has long been abandoned. Inside he sticks a gun to the eldest daughter Victoria, after removing her glasses so she can’t see what’s happening. However, his plan is foiled when a shadowy entity grabs him from behind, breaking his neck as it drags his body away. Victoria and Lilly, who are three and one years old respectively, live in the cabin for the next five years.

Mama 2013

Lucas Desange, brother to the deceased Jeffrey, never gives up hope that he’ll find his brother and nieces. His girlfriend Annabel, who is a member of a punk rock band, is not as sure as Lucas, but she supports her lover. In a last-ditch effort the rescuers find the cabin in the woods and they bring the girls back to civilization. Lilly and Victoria are placed in a clinic where they are observed by psychiatrist Dr. Gerald Dreyfuss, played by Daniel Kash. Lucas reaches out to the girls, and after giving the oldest daughter a pair of glasses, she begins to exhibit memories and connections to her father. Unfortunately, the youngest child remains distant and defiant.

The doctor aids Lucas and Annabel with custody of the girls, so that he can continue to document the girls’ behavior in regards to their seemingly unconscious creation of a mama to replace the one they lost. Throughout the scenes, both girls appear to be talking to and playing with an unknown entity called Mama. Annabel is the first adult to see a shadow figure near the girls’ bedroom. She attempts to confront the spirit, which leads to Mama attacking Lucas. He is put into a coma and therefore spends the majority of the movie in the hospital, leaving Annabel to raise the girls while also dealing with Mama.

Mama 2013

Annabel struggles with communicating with the girls, who are starting to leave the house at night to follow Mama. Meanwhile Annabel is experiencing vivid nightmares about a woman falling off a cliff. She realizes something is seriously wrong and reaches out to Victoria, offering to console the young girl. This is a turning point in their relationship, as Victoria advises Annabel of Mama’s jealousy. However, Lilly remains distant and wild-eyed.

Mama 2013

Dr. Dreyfuss remains in the picture, interviewing the girls about Mama, which he discovers is connected to a 19th century mental asylum patient named Edith Brennan who is forced to give up her infant. After discovering the remains of the child in a storage facility, the doctor begins to connect reality and goes to the cabin for more information. Meanwhile, Annabel is having dreams about a woman in an asylum who kills a nun after they take her infant. When the woman flees, she jumps off a cliff with the infant, but the infant doesn’t die in the water, but on a branch where it is caught. Annabel realizes that the Mama entity is replacing her own child with Victoria and Lilly.

**Spoiler Alert**

Lucas recovers and he goes to the cabin, where Dr. Dreyfuss has already been murdered, and where Annabel goes looking for the two missing girls. In a dramatic conclusion, Annabel has the remains of the infant, which she stole from the doctor’s office, and she finds Lucas there. The two girls are discovered on the cliff from Annabel’s dream, along with Mama who is a staggeringly tall and ghastly creature. Once Annabel gives Mama the infant’s remains, the audience thinks that all is well as Mama loosens her hold on Victoria and Lilly. The two girls run to Annabel and Lucas, but Lilly turns back and calls for Mama. Victoria has formed a strong enough relationship with Annabel that she stays with the living, while Lilly is encased in a cocoon with Mama before the two jump off of the cliff. When Lilly hits the same branch that killed Mama’s newborn, the cocoon explodes into a million moths. A bright blue moth flies up to Victoria as the movie concludes.

MAMA (2013) Poster
Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
Year Released:
18 January 2013
Andrés Muschietti
Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet, Morgan McGarry, Megan Charpentier
Horror, Thriller
Official URL:

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