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Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 227 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 35
  2. Negative: 3 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Jan 16, 2013
    83
    Plenty of horror movies are willing to settle for making audiences jump. Mama is more ambitious by far: It makes sure viewers are emotionally committed even when they aren't clutching their armrests or covering their eyes.
  2. Reviewed by: Emily Rome
    Jan 16, 2013
    75
    Nothing in the movie is quite original, yet Muschietti, expanding his original short, knows how to stage a rip-off with frightening verve.
  3. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jan 17, 2013
    75
    Mama is skillfully made, and although Chastain is the best thing in it, she's not the only thing in it.
  4. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jan 18, 2013
    60
    It's a good, old-fashioned sit-around-the-campfire ghost story, one that delivers on its sole reason for existence: to raise the hairs on the back of your arms.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jan 17, 2013
    50
    The atmosphere is appropriately creepy, and there are some starts, if not outright scares...But it just gets stupid.
  7. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Jan 16, 2013
    12
    The premise isn't even worthy of executive producer Guillermo del Toro, who will apparently lend his name to any film as long as it fulfills its quota of moths and vulvic openings.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 72
  2. Negative: 11 out of 72
  1. 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
  2. Apr 10, 2013
    8
    Del Toro is great. Mama is a fantasy movie with scares. Some people will love it, some people will hate it... I liked. Mama is a great "horror" movie, great for what I was looking for. Expand
  3. 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. Expand
  4. 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. Expand
  5. Jan 19, 2013
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This was a disappointment - expected more from Del Toro, even if he wasn't directing. The premise was interesting enough and riffing off financial collapse (now that is a horror movie) was a promising start. But despite good acting and decent cinematography the film falls into cliches and is disjointed. And can we all admit that CGI is not frightening? It just pulled me right out of the film and any hope of feeling horror soon turned into annoyance. There were a number of jolting moments but generally these turned out to be cheap stunts to get a rise from the audience. I'd recommend as a rental. Expand
  6. Mar 18, 2013
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Before I get started, let me say that this movie had good qualities. The acting was, for the most part, well done, even by the children. The beginning of the movie had me excited; the back story of the girls was interesting and I felt that the pictures in the opening credits and Lucas' search for the girls were a good start for making characters the audience could care about. Before we kept seeing Mama (or the Skinny Woman, as I think the credits called her), the hints at her were nice. I really liked when she first played with Lilly. The suspense, despite a bad plot and pay off, was good. But, there were also lots of problems. The characterization quickly went nowhere and any development felt forced. The color editing was dumb, utterly failing to create atmosphere and making sure that the audience couldn't be a part of the story. The story, while a bit used, could have been salvageable with a better ending, but with the way it is, there is no feeling of conclusion. So Lilly, Gene, and Dreyfus are dead, how do you explain that to the police? Does Victoria overcome the psychological scarring that all of her childhood has clearly been? Once the excitement dies down, are Lucas and Annabelle, with no previous experience and now, presumably, without the house, able to properly care for Victoria, assuming that she wasn't taken away after the bodies are found? Also, while Mama's design was certainly one of the better parts of the movie, I don't understand the choice to show so much of her (and then, since so much was shown, why include the overdone flashes-of-light-in-a-dark-room bit?) It provided a few jump scares at first, but the CGI was distracting. Everything else in the movie, the moths, the leaves and vines, the dirt, the cabin, the feral girls, and the design of Mama itself, was natural, so having something as unnatural as the clearly CGIed ghost was jarring, and not in the good horror way. And, combined with knowing everything about Mama, there was nothing left to the imagination, robbing the movie of a lot of potential horror and creepiness. Yes, it might have scared you at the time, but I doubt anyone will be having any nightmares about her, and if not for the bad parts, this alone would have made the movie completely forgettable. Well, maybe I would have remembered it, if only for how hard I tried to figure out the "meaning" of the themes and symbols. There were moths as a sign of Mama, moths that Lilly ate, the cocoon that Mama formed around herself and Lilly, and the blue moths that were Lilly? I know that they usually do mean death and rebirth and all that jazz, but what does that have to do with Mama? Didn't we already learn that ghosts were simply emotions? Are moths compulsive, "motherly", or desperate like the ghost? (For that matter, what emotion was Mama?) What do the cherries mean? The previously mentioned focus on nature? The long limbs and weird walk of Mama? If they don't have a meaning then why are they there? And, now for a weird (mostly joking) observation. Was... Was Dr. Dreyfus' secretary wearing the three wolf moon shirt? No, I'm being serious. Because that messed me up for the rest of the movie. I was in a whole internet mood and everything was weird. Mama was the Bongcheon-Dong Ghost looking for her baby or (before we saw her face) the female Slenderman ("skinny woman", remember?) kidnapping children. Jeff was an inverted Jeff the Killer: he was in all black against a light background and wanted Lucas to wake up. The pictures Annabelle found felt like something you'd see as the image on a page of the Creepypasta Wiki and honestly, the concept felt like it would feel in place there. In the end, this isn't the worst movie I've seen in a while and I can say I was more surprised that it had good parts than that it had bad. Expand
  7. 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. Expand

See all 72 User Reviews

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