Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Scarefest 2013 - Mama

Since we're in the Halloween spirit, allow me to start reviewing some scary movies during the next week or so.  No time frame on these.  I've already got two movies ready to go.

Be warned, there are spoilers ahead. 

Today's Movie:  'Mama' (2013) viewed on HBO

Starring: Jessica Chastain and the dude from 'Game Of Thrones'.  Plus two little girls who are pretty good for child actors.  Does it take a lot for kids to act scared in movies like this?  Do the directors actually scare them for authenticity?

I digress.

Plot:  Two girls are abducted by their father after he goes on a killing spree. Fortunately for them he takes them to a secluded cabin in the woods that is haunted by a killer ghost who has a softness for children.  As the father is about to kill the two little girls (because he loves them, of course), the murder ghost jumps out and kills the father thus saving the girls.

Five years later....

The girls are found by a couple of dudes (just as the funds run out from the uncle who has never stopped looking for them - conveniently).  They're feral and dirty and must have been shitting themselves regularly since they have been surviving on cherries and the kindness of the murder ghost. 

As I'm writing this, I realize this plot is fucking ridiculous. 

Anyway, the girls are reunited with the uncle and his rock chick girlfriend (was there a reason she was in a rock band?  It really didn't play much into the story. I was hoping she would have a bass duel with the ghost like Scott Pilgrim).  There is the usual transition period and the rock chick begins to realize that SOMETHING HAS COME BACK WITH THEM!

You can guess the rest.

Gore Factor:  Not much, really.  Another PG-13 horror movie.

Nude Factor:  None.

Scare Factor:  Admittedly there are quite a few effective scenes.  The director shows us that the murder ghost is still with the girls with in a clever foreground/background combo shot.  Wifey jumped out of seat a few times and cursed 'I hate these movies' more than once.  The murder ghost also makes this creepy, clicking sound that reminded me of 'Mimic'.

Review:  While this isn't terrible, it completely falls apart in the last 30 minutes.  Legitimate scares turn into laughs after the third person winds up at the creepy cabin in the middle of the night.  Can these people not make it there before sunset?  The uncle has a vision of his dead brother and leads him to a bridge.  Only he winds up walking seemingly for hours to get to the cabin.  So what was the point of the vision?  Was he cursing his dead brother for not being more specific in his death taunt?The psychiatrist who is unraveling the murder ghost's true identity doesn't tell anyone where he is going and winds up in the cabin (in the dead of night of course).  Things work out for him as well as you would think.

Other ludicrous things happen like the rock chick nearly running over her boyfriend even though she's driving down an mammoth secluded road and he's in a forest at least a hundred square miles in size.  This is my favorite, goofy scene.  She had left him a voice mail explaining that the murder ghost has kidnapped the girls.  After nearly running him over, he says 'I got your message'.  Not 'Oh, hey, I'm out of the hospital' or 'What the fuck are you doing here' or 'What are the odds we meed right here at this exact moment'.

No, just 'I got your message'.  Rock chick next says 'She's got the girls!' which is an absolute shock to him.  Wait, did you get her message or not?  Did you delete it without listening to the entire thing, you selfish prick?  And how did you have time to listen to a voice mail when wandering the woods?  What cell plan do you have?  Because your coverage is fantastic!

Here's my pet peeve with these stupid movies:  Why do they have to explain the ghost?  They all have to have back stories now.  Why can't it simply be something inexplicable?  Isn't that the entire point of paranormal?  Something that can't be explained?  Instead they turn the murder ghost with a terrible manicure into a wronged - albeit dead - woman.  And why are her hands so big?  If she's just a dead woman, shouldn't they be normal size?  Was she a freakishly good vollyball player back in her prime?

Bottom Line:  Watch the first three quarters of this movie then make up your own ending.  Whatever you come up with will be ten times better than what the movie came up with. 

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