Guellimo Del Toro produced horror ‘MAMA’ was based on a three minute short film of the same name. Mixing up themes about a mother’s love and a young child’s interaction with a fantasy creature and presenting it as some sort of Fairy Tale, you can understand why it was esthetically pleasing for Del Toro go and help make this film over at Universal.
The thing with the original short, the actual ‘Mama’ creature was done with camera trickier, bringing an unnerving feel, the idea it would come out and protect its chosen child at anytime. Unfortunally for this it goes down the root of conventional looking CG. There is nothing unique to this creature’s look or its overall design, which considering Del Toro produced you would have thought he would might have wanted to put input too, especially with a background and visual diaries about his own creature designs. I think the biggest issue with this is how you just become strangely bewildered by how the narrative starts out with creative promise and then evolves into something strangely very dull and formulaic. The thing is it gets caught out with actually showing you the ‘Mama’ creature in the early goings of the film before the main characters ever get in contact with the spectre. Meaning there is a lot of backtracking as the characters try to catch up with what the audience has seen, meaning it just plods along, and this is a shame as there is potential here.
There is nods to other recent films (which are a cut above other films like ‘Insidious’) of (another Del Toro production) of ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ and ‘The Women In Black’, and there is believability with the central performance by Jessica Chastain, who is great in everything she is, bring class to the proceedings. I do find it also interesting that British writer Neil Cross (creator of ‘Luther’) did a treatment of the script. Generally speaking I was expecting better, wanting more considering the talent and source material and to be honest rather let down, particularly when it could have been a nice antidote to whole Hollywood fad of ‘Insidious’ and ‘Paranormal Activity’ features.