User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 289 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 27 out of 289
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  1. Apr 29, 2013
    0
    This year's Woman in Black. They take a popular actor at the time (in this case Nikolaj Coster Waldau, known for playing Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones) and put him in a poorly made movie about a vengeful spirit and hope it sells. Mama is simply a god awful movie with no suspense what so ever. A terrible generic story with cheap scares, that honestly don't scare at all. The fact thatThis year's Woman in Black. They take a popular actor at the time (in this case Nikolaj Coster Waldau, known for playing Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones) and put him in a poorly made movie about a vengeful spirit and hope it sells. Mama is simply a god awful movie with no suspense what so ever. A terrible generic story with cheap scares, that honestly don't scare at all. The fact that people actually like this trash proves how poor their taste are. Expand
  2. Feb 3, 2014
    7
    From first glance, Mama looks like a great horror movie flick with lots of jump scares and frightening moments. Instead, it resorts to a more emotional side with drawn-out story telling. Did this pay off? Just barely.
  3. Sep 1, 2014
    6
    Terrifying all around. Well-thought of and beautifully executed. Jessica Chastain proves she will never fall into typecasting as she boldly takes on this role.
  4. Jan 30, 2013
    6
    For 5 years, 2 little girls are raised in the woods by a ghostly specter. When they're returned to civilization, they move in with their uncle (Nikolaj Coster Waldau) and his girlfriend (Jessica Chastain). Of course, their "mama" comes with them. This is a relatively well-told ghost story with a creepy atmosphere, some nice surprises and a few good scares. Since there's only one evilFor 5 years, 2 little girls are raised in the woods by a ghostly specter. When they're returned to civilization, they move in with their uncle (Nikolaj Coster Waldau) and his girlfriend (Jessica Chastain). Of course, their "mama" comes with them. This is a relatively well-told ghost story with a creepy atmosphere, some nice surprises and a few good scares. Since there's only one evil presence, the intrigue is limited. To make things worse, it completely falls apart by the time we get to the laboriously overdone ending. Fans of the genre might enjoy much of it, but it's not special in any way. (And what happened to the dog?) Expand
  5. Feb 17, 2013
    0
    Guillermo del toro has made great films in the past but this time the presents logo has let him down. Mama is not a great film. It doesn't give you creepy jeepers from movies like Paranormal Activity, it's a crappy horror movie with bad CGI effects and jessica chainten was "meh". This film absolutely has no story, the0 is only for some of the creepy performances. 0/10. Nothing more.
  6. Jul 19, 2013
    8
    Let me first just get this out of the way, Mama isn't a scary movie. Despite its lack of any sort of fear it's still an enjoyable movie thanks to it's well written plot. It's filled with mystery and likable characters. As you learn more details about the plot, and what exactly "Mama" is, you begin to see a bitter-sweet side of the story. It's actually kind of a sad tale. Mama managed toLet me first just get this out of the way, Mama isn't a scary movie. Despite its lack of any sort of fear it's still an enjoyable movie thanks to it's well written plot. It's filled with mystery and likable characters. As you learn more details about the plot, and what exactly "Mama" is, you begin to see a bitter-sweet side of the story. It's actually kind of a sad tale. Mama managed to keep watching, and most importantly interested, because I actually cared about the characters and their fates. I watched this movie in hopes of getting a good scare, and while the movie didn't deliver any frights whatsoever it still kept me entertained and I find that impressive. So I recommend Mama, not for frights, but for story. Expand
  7. Jun 15, 2013
    7
    A rare horror movie that doesn't combine stupidly with a ridiculous story. Mama carried enough thrills and scares to make up for the sometimes sleepy scenes.
  8. Aug 3, 2013
    6
    January horror flicks aren't usually produced by Guilermo Del Toro, nor do they usually star an Oscar nominated actress. Suffice it to say, though it's no masterpiece, Mama is an above-average scare show.
  9. Jun 2, 2013
    7
    I'm surprised how much I enjoyed this film it really does have some creepy moments. Horror movie fans should like this if you like story over gore. See Mama.
  10. Jun 15, 2013
    7
    A horror movie that is actually not tasteless, disgusting, or pure crap. Well acted and filmed. It is scary without being ridiculous. It was gripping, but it got a little cheesy at the end.
  11. Jul 21, 2014
    5
    From Horror Sci-Fi Film maker and producer Guillermo Del Toro presents Mama which is a good horror movie with class, fun but there is something not right about the horror movie its short and its just a same horror movie i think we all see this before. Grade C-
  12. May 13, 2013
    6
    I have been eschewing horror films for quite a long time, not my cup of tea to be constantly under the fusillade of twisted images of supernormal creatures and the menacing sound effects antedated by portentous background scores, while trying to squeeze any sort of excitement and satisfaction from it (or just a natural aging process). But MAMA, outsmarts a myriad of its sort by castingI have been eschewing horror films for quite a long time, not my cup of tea to be constantly under the fusillade of twisted images of supernormal creatures and the menacing sound effects antedated by portentous background scores, while trying to squeeze any sort of excitement and satisfaction from it (or just a natural aging process). But MAMA, outsmarts a myriad of its sort by casting Jessica Chastain as its sadistic prey, so when I got the BluRay disc, it is not easy to say no to it, not when Chastain wears a Gothic makeup.

    THE ORPHANAGE (2007, 8/10), which also has a Spanish pedigree, has left an indelible impression on my memory and its credo of a mother’s salvation can be easily transplanted into MAMA, only this time the mother is a gawky ghost, thus, Chastain’s character, initially a childless bass player in a rock band, has to undergone the transference of her own mother nature to fight for the girls, it is a tug-of-war of two mothers (Coster-Waldau’s proxy-father figure as one can anticipate, would have to sidestep aside to leave enough space for the maternal battle, he would be in the hospital since the half-way through and never returns home to aid his girlfriend even when he recovers and completely senses the spooky thing is happening with the two girls, instead, he would go directly to the haunted cabana, at least give your girlfriend a head’s up, man!). It is sufficient to say there are nothing too ground-breaking MAMA brings to its mother genre, the scares and twists are both predictable and fully-informed ahead, and a certain amount of casualty among supporting players is indispensable (and overused).

    What’s quite impressive is the ingenious shooting prowess from Muschietti and DP Antonio Riestra, for example, during Coster-Waldau’s hospital stint, a semi-long shot at their home, in a fixed gaze, implies Mama’s existence in the house by disinterestedly concocting all 3 extant characters in one frame while a fourth one is off-camera and does the interaction. Another one comes within the spine-tingling motion, a tracking close-up focus on the elder girl until she is locked outside the door when Mama is trailing both girls. Also the sepia and over-saturated flash-back takes are smartly interpolated, and the shots from a camera in the darkness is not a new invention but pay their dues by the in-the-blink-of-an-eye fright (poor doctor!).

    Chastain shoulders on a very understated development from a punk bassist to a surrogate mother, Muschietti has a good sense of reining the holistic haunting aura instead let it slip into a drama competition (although if one has Chastain, he should not squander the opportunity). Megan Charpentier, plays the elder sister of the two, whose transition is the most telling proof of a mother’s love, the ending is redolent of THE FORGOTTEN (2004, 5/10), and the motherly clasp always win!

    MAMA, expanded from Muschietti’s own short film, is a qualified scare-fest, but one advise should be alarmed to all the makers, whatever gristly creature you are contriving, if it appears continuously on screen for more than 5 minutes, the terror efficacy will be dampened no matter how unsightly it is, so play your trumps parsimoniously is a wiser option if your intention is to scare audiences out of their wits.
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  13. Oct 26, 2014
    8
    Mama is a lot better than I expected. The story is so well-crafted. I wouldn't really classify Mama as a Horror movie although I did get a few scares here and there throughout the movie its really not a movie designed to make you scared. I see it as a more of a mystery. Jessica Chastain develops beautifully in the lead role. I really didn't like her character for the first hour of the filmMama is a lot better than I expected. The story is so well-crafted. I wouldn't really classify Mama as a Horror movie although I did get a few scares here and there throughout the movie its really not a movie designed to make you scared. I see it as a more of a mystery. Jessica Chastain develops beautifully in the lead role. I really didn't like her character for the first hour of the film but in the end you find yourself on her side. The movie leaves you guessing until the very end and it concludes with no loose ends. This film really didn't really didn't get what it deserved if you ask me. I consider Mama underrated and a must see. Expand
  14. Mar 12, 2013
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. "Hey, I love you, girl," Lucas, a hirsute graphic artist tells his boho flatmate, Annabel, the bass guitarist in a three-piece indie-rock band, on the precipice of her incipient entree into womanhood. She's going to be a mother, or rather, a surrogate matriarchal figure, better known as the stepmom. Lucas' two nieces, Victoria and Lilly, missing for years and presumed dead, are found, miraculously, alive in a woodland cabin, and seemingly without parental supervision. On that fateful day in the band's rehearsal space, when Lucas breaks the news to Annabel of the girls' improbable recovery, the goth girl doesn't look none too pleased. Suddenly, her cool beau comes with baggage. Annabel, while talking it over with the lead singer, decides on a reactionary life-choice that betrays her persona, so soon after thanking god in the loo for the close call on a home pregnancy test. The femme singer, quite pointedly, calls Annabel "dude", as in, "You didn't sign up for this, dude," a sisterly endearment loaded with trenchant points in that the masculine appelation evokes a testament to such feminist ideals, chiefly, the outright rejection of traditional female roles. On her own volition, Annabel follows Lucas to suburbia, taking up residence in a two storey Virginia colonial, as part of an agreement with a behavioral scientist that accedes complete access to the girls for an empirical study on feral children. Like the wild child from Francois Truffaut's L'enfant sauvage, the girls walk on all fours and undergo an enculturation period. Alone in her vanilla trappings, Annabel, the exiled hipster, rocks the colonial. Quite a sacrifice for a "girl" whose desert island, all-time, top five musical artists would definitely include Kim Deal. Unlike Laura, Rob's long-suffering girlfriend in High Fidelity, whose slumming is protracted by her love for a arrested owner of a record shop, a sad diletantic man-child who wouldn't allow the paralegal to grow. Annabel's transition into adulthood, however, is abrupt, and especially curious, since she's the same person: same close-cropped hair, same raccoon-style eye makeup, differing from Laura, who tells Rob, "I couldn't go to work with my hair dyed pink." And yet she gives it all up. And not for something good like a career. The woman in flux chooses to be a homemaker with a surprising minimum of fuss. At the film's core, Mama beats a sexist heart, because the filmmaker suggests that all women, down deep inside, want to be mothers. Laura, too, despite being career-minded, was once an expecting mother-to-be, but fails to carry her child to full-term, since, as she tells it, due to Rob's one-night stand. But let's not forget the record shop owner's rebuttal to his transgressive behavior, in one of many instances where he breaks the fourth wall. On the bus, Rob humbly admits that Laura is the smart one; he realizes how Laura played him, convincing the in-film narrator that seeing other people was his idea, when, in actuality, she had already started anew with another man: the dreaded Ian. Laura not only outsmarts Rob; she outsmarts the audience. Laura, a former party girl, who first meets Rob in the midst of his deejay gig at a club, also worked as a legal aid during the day. Rob's infidelity came at the right time; it provided her with a convenient excuse to terminate the pregnancy. The film seems unaware that she chose to ascend through the ranks of her profession, rather than sit at home with a baby. It's a gambit that pays off, as indicated by Rob, when he muses aloud about the incongruity between her handsome salary and the "dump" she once resided in. The maternal instinct is neither engendered in Laura nor Annabel, but whereas High Fidelity allows for upward mobility as a transition into so-called respectability: a good job and a better man, signifiers both of personal growth, Mama has a fifties mentality, in which Annabel gives up the life she invented in order to rear children, as proof and verification of her finishing. She trades her bass for a laundry basket. Akin to Sylvie, the stepmother figure in Housekeeping, the aunt who inherits two girls that accept their new guardian in varying degrees(Ruth, the protege; Lucy, the rebel), just like how Victoria likes Annabel better than Lilly. Equipped with glasses, she sees that "mama" is just a stay-at-home mother. Today, women who reject the traditional role of wife and mother have someplace to go, but this being the 1950s, Sylvie just got lost, returning home from her vagabond's itinerary of constant walking after her nieces' orphaning. While window shopping, she cringes at the vacuum cleaner display. Her sister, the one who chose to vacuum, ended up driving her car over a cliff. Hopefully, Lucy will have better luck. Mama, too, plunges in the water, taking Lilly with her. Victoria survives; she wants to be like Annabel: independent, but the film won't let her out of the house. Expand
  15. Nov 13, 2014
    5
    "Mama" 10 Scale Rating: 5.0 (Average) ...

    The Good: Great buildup with genuinely creepy moments. The subtle horror works well for the first three quarters of the film and yo wonder what is going to happen next. The antagonist (ghostly "Mama") was interesting and a well done "monster" while still cloaked in secrecy. The Bad: When all is revealed, it becomes more than a little silly.
    "Mama" 10 Scale Rating: 5.0 (Average) ...

    The Good: Great buildup with genuinely creepy moments. The subtle horror works well for the first three quarters of the film and yo wonder what is going to happen next. The antagonist (ghostly "Mama") was interesting and a well done "monster" while still cloaked in secrecy.

    The Bad: When all is revealed, it becomes more than a little silly. Especially when we get to see "Mama" full on. She isn't scary anymore, just bad effects and silly sounds. Jessica Chastain's character isn't very likeable. She changes for the better by the end of the film, but I couldn't stand her for the majority of it. Just another ghost story that can't quite carry the weight of it's awesome premise and build up.
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  16. Aug 13, 2014
    7
    The movie is not scary at all but the story is interesting and the actors are really good.There is some good scenes with mama but the rest is a little bit boring.
  17. Feb 9, 2013
    7
    'Mama' is a great horror movie, but the movie is not all terror, too much drama.
  18. Jul 13, 2013
    5
    Disappointing and lacking in scares or chills, yet enjoyable. The film may have a great performance from Jessica Chastain, but her character is unlikable and not a lot of people will care for her. There are indeed some creepy moments, but the film lacks scares and some moments come off as unintentionally hilarious and really silly, probably due to lame and unnecessary CG. The film's endingDisappointing and lacking in scares or chills, yet enjoyable. The film may have a great performance from Jessica Chastain, but her character is unlikable and not a lot of people will care for her. There are indeed some creepy moments, but the film lacks scares and some moments come off as unintentionally hilarious and really silly, probably due to lame and unnecessary CG. The film's ending is strange but beautiful yet plenty of people will probably not like it. Overall, Mama is decent but disappointing and lacking in scares. Expand
  19. Jun 23, 2013
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I have to say that after Guillielmo del Toro's Don't be afraid of the dark which was a truly bad film. Mama was different. Despite the fact that it had some plot gaps the film was quite interesting. That creature called Mama was scary and funny at the same time. It had some scary moments like the scene with the photograph and it can scare you in some moments. I didn't expect the ending. I was thinking of something really different I can say that the two little girls impressed me too with their performances. I don't understand why five years after the disappearance of the children they were keep trying to find them. And seriously for five years they didn't find the car where they were with their dad. Those two things i didn't like in the film. Some things that could not make sense. If you forget about that the film is interesting and it will scare you at some moments. Expand
  20. May 4, 2013
    6
    "Mama" succeeds in generating a few genuine scares, but it predominantly provides some lingering, and creepy images--despite indulging into numerous clichés. It is a well-made film that delivers mild chills and thrills, with a solid cast to help gloss over the expected bag of tricks. It also helps tremendously to have Guillermo del Toro as an Executive Producer.

    In the prologue to
    "Mama" succeeds in generating a few genuine scares, but it predominantly provides some lingering, and creepy images--despite indulging into numerous clichés. It is a well-made film that delivers mild chills and thrills, with a solid cast to help gloss over the expected bag of tricks. It also helps tremendously to have Guillermo del Toro as an Executive Producer.

    In the prologue to "Mama," we learn of a shooting at a financial firm after an economic crash. A distraught executive named Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) arrives home, quickly collects his two young daughters, Victoria and Lilly, and speeds off. They end up in an abandoned house deep in the forest, where Lucas apparently intends to shoot his daughters before he can kill himself. But that is not quite how it works out. Five years later, Lucas' brother Jeffrey (also played by Coster-Waldau) has never given up hope. Jeff's team of searchers comes across the abandoned house we saw a century ago in a nightmare. Dad's long gone, but the girls are still there crawling around on all fours and making noises like wild animals. How could they have survived on their own? They are taken into the care of their dead father's brother and his rocker girlfriend away from the cabin they've called home all this time. Mama is none too pleased about this development, as I'm sure you can imagine. The girls are kept in isolation for a few months as Dr. Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash) records their every move while helping with their assimilation, given that Victoria keeps making cryptic references to an unseen Mama. Lilly sleeps under the bed, still occasionally eats bugs, and screams whenever anyone tries to touch her. The girls hardly seem ready for ice cream and bedtime stories, but Jeffrey is determined to give them a normal life. Muschietti and his story collaborators Neil Cross and Barbara Muschietti, managed to keep an entire back-story up their sleeves to reveal it in teasing fashion, which works to a degree, maintaining viewers engagement with the film. In addition, there are some creative nightmare sequences--a highly stylized dream set in which we see a crazed young woman screaming bloody terror before leaping off a cliff with her newborn.

    Overall, the casting for the film is fine, especially the role of Annabel, played by Jessica Chastain, who slowly sheds her tough-talking exterior from "Zero Dark Thirty" (2012). Her nurturing instincts take over in this film, displaying her incredible range as one of the finest at her craft at this time. There are ideas and themes present in "Mama", but they are not quite fully developed to satisfaction, as the film does confuse at times when it seems to suggest that the idea of settling into a normal family unit could in fact be the real horror. Come the end, Muschietti may not have worked out all his own unresolved issues, but he does manage communicate his fears effectively. And besides, that's what sequels are for.
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  21. Oct 14, 2014
    7
    It's more of a twisted fairy tale than a horror movie, but there were some damn unsettling scenes in the film. I really liked the characters and disturbingly gorgeous shots, and the acting, especially from the kids, was top-notch. Be warned, though, after Mama reveals herself in all her CGI glory, it stops being scary and just more bedtime story-ish That wasn't a detractor for me because IIt's more of a twisted fairy tale than a horror movie, but there were some damn unsettling scenes in the film. I really liked the characters and disturbingly gorgeous shots, and the acting, especially from the kids, was top-notch. Be warned, though, after Mama reveals herself in all her CGI glory, it stops being scary and just more bedtime story-ish That wasn't a detractor for me because I like more dramatic horror films like this film. Even when the film wasn't being too scary, it still had a creepy atmosphere and compelling story, although it doesn't completely transcend its genre clichés. Expand
  22. Jun 4, 2013
    5
    "Although Mama is on the more "compulsively scary" side of things. It lacks the effort that make films like "Insidious" scary. Its bland and hardly effective, also suffering from a frigid conclusion, Mama was still not as terrible as it should have been" C+
  23. Apr 29, 2013
    7
    Pretty good horror flick, starting with a typical cheesy premise, but ending quite strongly. Chastain as usual is great, and Mama ends up being an interesting 'monster' character, typical with any of Del Toro's produced films.
  24. Nov 23, 2014
    8
    Mama es una película de terror que no solo ofrece algunos sustos de vez en cuando, si no que además contiene un cierto atractivo en la historia que inducirá al público a algo triste y una tanto macabro a la vez.

    El film contiene una trama interesante y alentadora, que da una sensación de que no solo es una película de terror, si no que también encuentra de alguna forma una diversidad
    Mama es una película de terror que no solo ofrece algunos sustos de vez en cuando, si no que además contiene un cierto atractivo en la historia que inducirá al público a algo triste y una tanto macabro a la vez.

    El film contiene una trama interesante y alentadora, que da una sensación de que no solo es una película de terror, si no que también encuentra de alguna forma una diversidad alternativa al lado familiar., además, el film, contiene un final un poco atrevedor y curioso.
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  25. Nov 23, 2013
    7
    Although certainly creepy Mama relies largely on moments that make you jump instead of really scariness. Also it as a movie falls slightly into the horror movie stereotype in some fashions such as having a wise older character that pieces it all together first. Other than that though, it is well directed and all the acting is good.
  26. Feb 13, 2013
    7
    Overall, a watchable film. The performances are good especially that of Jessica Chastain. The plot is different, no doubt about that, but the script gets a bit confusing at times (there are plot-holes (avoidable), the writing hasn’t been executed in the way it should have been, it also gives you the feeling that there would be a sequel to it) but if you like old school scares instead ofOverall, a watchable film. The performances are good especially that of Jessica Chastain. The plot is different, no doubt about that, but the script gets a bit confusing at times (there are plot-holes (avoidable), the writing hasn’t been executed in the way it should have been, it also gives you the feeling that there would be a sequel to it) but if you like old school scares instead of torture-porn/cheap gore, then you might like it. Visuals are pretty good and the film also incorporates the element of emotion which is almost always absent in horror films. Expand
  27. Mar 4, 2013
    8
    Incredibly freaky and sad movie. It scared the heck out of me and out the same time the ending made me really sad. It's special effects looked wildly real and wildly freaky. Del Toro is a great director and a master of horror and drama.
  28. May 7, 2013
    3
    Started off slow, but I didn't mind it. The story slowly started to evolve. Along the way, there were a few scary moments. But 3/4 of the way, the movie fell apart. The movie became very cheesy and the suspence was gone.
  29. Feb 16, 2013
    6
    The worse thing in the movie is that it should be more scary, because the story its self is more scarier than its execution, but still very good movie, despite that the pacing is terrible, but if you are looking for a decent scary movie, that people under 12 won't be scared of it, watch MAMA it is really fun and scary but not horrifying, really, I am so disappointed that it is not scary isThe worse thing in the movie is that it should be more scary, because the story its self is more scarier than its execution, but still very good movie, despite that the pacing is terrible, but if you are looking for a decent scary movie, that people under 12 won't be scared of it, watch MAMA it is really fun and scary but not horrifying, really, I am so disappointed that it is not scary is it should be. Expand
  30. Mar 25, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Mama is a horror film of 2013 directed by Andres Muschietti. The plot begins with Jeffrey who kills his wife and flees with her ​​daughters. During the escape Jeffrey upset, has a car accident and the three find themselves in a forest. Wandering find an abandoned cabin where Jeffrey decides to kill her children and then himself, but he can not aim because a strange creature kills him. This same creature will take care of two children for five years as it will be discovered by men hired by Lucas's brother Jeffrey. Annabele him and (his girlfriend) will take care of them but the mysterious creature will do anything to be with the girls. A horror film that manages to scare in places with excellent shots and great actors, the film succeeds in some places even to touch. Final and the storyline by no means trivial although I think some important parts of the film were cut (in fact we do not know what he later found in the woods Lucas after the ghost of his brother told him to go there). Expand
Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 35
  2. Negative: 3 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Feb 26, 2013
    67
    Mama is one of those pictures that holds you aloft on its vaporous mood of dread – the occasional silliness of the plot mechanics don’t matter so much.
  2. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Feb 26, 2013
    50
    Beautifully envisioned, badly constructed, the only truly terrifying things in the new horror movie Mama are the fake tattoos, short black hair and black T-shirts meant to turn "Zero Dark Thirty" star Jessica Chastain into a guitar-shredding, punk rocker chick.
  3. Reviewed by: Xan Brooks
    Feb 22, 2013
    40
    It has been converted into a proficient, machine-tooled horror flick, stuffed full of shocks and buttressed with back-story. Mama got so flabby the second time around.